US - AT&T has asked a US judge to dismiss claims that it discriminated against older workers when it converted its defined benefit pension scheme to a ‘cash balance' arrangement in 1997.
According to legal documents, lawyers representing the telecoms giant are seeking to have the age discrimination claim - which is seeking US$2.3bn in damages for 24,000 current and former employees - thrown out.
An AT&T spokesperson said the company believed the conversion to a cash balance plan was appropriate and in accordance with all legal obligations.
The law suit, filed in 1998, alleges that the change to the pension scheme effectively froze the pensions of 40,000 older employees but not those of younger staff.
It further alleges the violation of both the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) or the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). AT&T said the court had previously dismissed eight of plaintiffs' claims based on allegations of ADEA and ERISA breaches.
It added: "Now that discovery is concluded, it is readily apparent that plaintiffs' remaining ADEA and ERISA claims are also barred as a matter of law."
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