According to this news story, national law firm Sidley Austin has settled a discrimination lawsuit brought by the EEOC alleging that Sidley's mandatory retirement policy and demotion of 32 older attorneys violated age discrimination law. We previously wrote about the suit, originally filed in 2005, here.
As part of the suit, Sidley admitted no wrongdoing, but agreed to pay $27.5 million (or an average payment of $859,375) to the partners, who were stripped of their titles back in 1999. Also as part of the settlement, Sidley will refrain from maintaining any policy that requires partners to retire at a certain age.
Just a few days ago, Bruce McEwen posted this piece discussing the pros and cons of mandatory retirement programs. I wonder whether those weighing in against mandatory retirement will think twice in the aftermath of the Sidley settlement. Keeping older lawyers on board may have some costs, but as the Sidley settlement shows, firing them carries its own costs as well.
Posted by Carolyn Elefant on October 5, 2007 at 04:57 PM | Permalink
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