Amityville settles age-discrimination suit
The Village of Amityville and the Amityville Fire Department have agreed to pay more than $200,000 to settle an age-discrimination suit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of 24 volunteer firefighters, the EEOC said Wednesday.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, alleged that Amityville "refused to let volunteer firefighters over age 65 accrue credit toward a 'length of service' award." Such an award is the equivalent of a retirement pension and, the suit alleged, by denying that reward Amityville violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act - a federal law that protects workers age 40 and older.
An Amityville spokeswoman said village officials were not immediately available and would have no comment on the settlement at this time.
Under the terms of the agreement Amityville will make $209,280 in retroactive payments to 24 volunteer firefighters who the EEOC said "had been barred from receiving credit for their service because of their age." The settlement also provides for increased monthly pension amounts for 15 of the firefighters still living. Families of nine deceased firefighters also will receive settlement payments, EEOC supervisory trial attorney Nora E. Curtin said Wednesday.
The firefighters were not named in the announcement.
A copy of the suit was not immediately available.
Curtin said most volunteer firefighters in New York receive some sort of pension award or compensation for their service, despite not being paid a salary.
She said that in 1992 Amityville decided it would no longer award years-of-service credit to volunteers who had turned 65 - and that action violated federal law. She said the policy was modified in 2005 to be brought into compliance.
The lawsuit was filed in August 2009 on behalf of firefighters whose awards were affected during the 13-year period.
Curtin said the EEOC has one other active age-discrimination lawsuit involving a fire district on Long Island. That suit is filed in Eastern District against Brentwood, Curtin said Wednesday.