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EEOC Informal Discussion Letter

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

This document was rescinded in December 2019 as part of EEOC's effort to provide guidance and information that is current, accurate, and clear.

EEOC Office of Legal Counsel staff members wrote the following informal discussion letter in response to an inquiry from a member of the public. This letter is intended to provide an informal discussion of the noted issue and does not constitute an official opinion of the Commission.

ADEA: Benefits

June 22, 2001

The Honorable Thomas Petri
U.S. House of Representatives
2462 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Congressman Petri:

Thank you for your letter of June 11 and your good wishes. As you know, I am very familiar with the issue that is the subject of your letter, and I share your concerns. For this reason, I have made the issue of retiree health, and the charges pending against school districts in your state and others, my highest priority.

Almost immediately upon my arrival here, I established an internal task force on retiree health. The purpose of this task force is to reexamine Commission policy concerning the application of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) to early retirement incentive plans that offer extended health care coverage (generally in the form of a Medicare bridge). My office is also in the process of reevaluating the status of all charges pending against school districts, including those in Wisconsin, that implicate retiree health. As you probably are aware, the vast majority of charges pending against Wisconsin school districts involve health care-based retirement incentives.

As for those remaining charges that fall within the area of the law that is clearly settled, the Commission will seek no monetary damages. Rather, the Commission only asks that the school districts bring their collective bargaining agreements into compliance with well-established legal principles. The Commission has offered to provide technical assistance to the school districts to help facilitate their efforts.

Thank you, again, for your letter. I look forward to meeting with you shortly to discuss these matters in detail.


David L. Frank,
Legal Counsel

This page was last modified on December 18, 2019.