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Erie County rulings


August 2000: The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules the Age Discrimination in Employment Act applies to retiree health care plans. The ruling involved plans provided by Erie County, Pa.

October 2000: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission adopts the ruling in its compliance manual.

April 2001: A federal district court rules that Erie County's retiree health care plan violates ADEA because Medicare-eligible retirees receive "lesser" benefits than younger retirees.

July 2001: The EEOC suspends enforcement of the Erie County ruling and says it will review its earlier policy.

August 2001: The EEOC formally withdraws enforcement of the ruling and pledges to develop rules that do not discourage employers from offering retiree health plans.

April 2002: Erie County settles litigation by paying $305,000 to retirees and their lawyers. Before settlement approval, the county cuts younger retirees' benefits.

April 2004: EEOC proposes final rules to exempt retiree health plans from ADEA.

February 2005: AARP files suit to block publication of the final EEOC rule. Judge Anita Brody bars the EEOC from publishing the rule for 60 days and agrees to hear arguments on the rule.

April 2005: Judge Brody permanently blocks the EEOC from enforcing its exemption rule.

September 2005: Judge Brody reverses her earlier ruling and says the EEOC has the right to issue its retiree health care ADEA exemption.

June 2007: The 3rd Circuit affirms the EEOC's right to issue the ADEA exemption, saying that the exemption was reasonable and in the public interest.