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AT&T settles age discrimination suit brought by EEOC

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NEW YORK—A New York federal judge has given final approval to the settlement of an age discrimination case filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against AT&T Inc.

The EEOC originally filed its complaint in 2009, charging that Dallas-based AT&T violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 in refusing to rehire employees who had retired under various retirement and severance programs.

Under terms of the consent decree that Judge J. Paul Oetken signed Monday in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission vs. AT&T Inc. et al., the “defendants will not maintain any policy prohibiting the rehiring of employees who left AT&T under the relevant retirement programs.”

AT&T also agreed not to retaliate against anyone involved in the litigation.

There is no dollar amount noted in the decree, and the parties agreed to be responsible for their own attorney fees and costs.

In a statement, AT&T said it “is committed to full compliance with our nation's laws, including those related to nondiscrimination in employment. AT&T makes diversity and inclusion a top priority, and has received national recognition for its programs and performance. While we had a disagreement with the EEOC over the application of the law in this case, we are pleased to have amicably resolved that dispute in a way that puts this matter behind us.”

Ann M. Pohl, a trial attorney in the EEOC’s New York District Office, said in a statement: “Many former employees who took an early retirement package years ago still need work, and will now have an equal opportunity to apply for new jobs at AT&T. AT&T is to be commended for changing its policies and working with the EEOC to resolve this case.”