Court Finds No Age Bias In Kentucky Retirement System

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that
Kentucky's retirement system does not discriminate against older
workers.

The court, in a 5-4 ruling, says the retirement system
reasonably takes age and length of service into account when
structuring benefits for disabled workers who are eligible for
retirement.

Workers who become disabled once they are eligible to retire
receive their regular retirement pensions, but not disability
payments.

An employee complained that the state's plan is set up so two
employees who become disabled, each with the same total time of
service but of different ages, could receive dramatically different
benefits.

A federal appeals court had ruled that the plan was
discriminatory because it deprives employees older than 55 of an
employment benefit because of their age. The high court reversed
that ruling.

The benefit at issue in the case is offered to all employees
working in hazardous positions on the same nondiscriminatory terms,
said Justice Stephen Breyer, writing for the majority. Congress has
approved programs that calculate permanent disability benefits
using a formula that expressly takes account of age, Breyer added.


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