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NEW YORK-NYNEX Corp. wants to settle a lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission this month on behalf of women that NYNEX allegedly shortchanged when calculating pensions.
The commission, which filed suit this month in U.S. District Court in New York, claims NYNEX, a subsidiary of Philadelphia-based Bell Atlantic Corp., is unfairly undercounting the women's past pregnancy leaves when figuring seniority when compared with other kinds of leaves calculated for pension purposes.
The number of women involved is undetermined, though the EEOC claims it is at least 2,000, said Dale
Jurgens, lead counsel for the EEOC.
The suit alleges that since April 1994, when the company began offering an early retirement package, NYNEX has discriminated against women in counting time off due to pregnancies occurring before 1979.
Such pregnancy leaves occurred before enactment of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, which gave full service credit to pregnancy-related leaves.
The suit asks for back benefits and wages and interest on back wages along with compensatory and punitive damages, Mr. Jurgens said.
Bell Atlantic released a statement saying NYNEX fully complied with laws covering pregnancy leaves taken before 1979 and that the early retirement package was legal. The company also said it hopes to settle the case with the EEOC without a trial.