11 April 2012 at 13:26 BST

Kelley Drye settles age bias suit

New York-headquartered law firm Kelley Drye & Warren has settled a legal battle against the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over the practice's alleged discriminatory retirement policy.

Age discrimination: claim settles

The settlement includes a consent decree that orders a $574,000 payment to the firm’s employment partner Eugene D’Ablemont, reports Law.com.
Kelley Drye – which has 303 lawyers and 131 partners – has also pledged not to reduce partner remuneration based on age and will now implement training sessions to avoid age discrimination.

Life partners

The firm’s previous retirement policy required equity partners to release their interests when they reached 70; at that stage they would become ‘life partners’ and receive annual payments. Some partners, like Mr D’Ablemont, continued to practise and were therefore entitled to receive a bonus.
The commission took exception to this policy, maintaining that older lawyers were paid less than their younger colleagues, even if they continued to work.

Cost of settlement

In a statement to the Am Law Daily, managing partner James Kirk said: ‘The firm has not discriminated or done anything wrong, and the amounts of the monetary settlement payments that cover more than a decade from 2001 through 2011 are consistent with our belief.’ He added: ‘Our decision to settle the case was dictated by the fact that the cost of continuing the case would have far exceeded the cost of settlement.’

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