AT&T may get Supreme Court win, pension plan relief

Times are tight, but AT&T may get some unexpected relief on its pension liabilities from a favorable ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court.

On Wednesday, the court was leaning toward AT&T in its policy that lowers pension benefits for female workers who took pregnancy leave prior to 1979, when a federal law was passed barring job discrimination against pregnant women.

At issue in the case is if AT&T's seniority system is a violation of the pregnancy discrimination law, but the case could affect workers at other parts of the former Bell phone system. If AT&T's pension plan is forced to recognize the pregnancy leave time, extra benefit payments could be between 0.5 and 2 percent of the overall value of the pensions. Liabilities in additional benefits would be in the millions of dollars.

Scheduled to be decided in the first half of 2009, the lawsuit covers AT&T employees filing claims in 1994 who want uncounted pregnancy leave to count toward their retirements and benefits

For more:
- Latest reports on the AT&T Supreme Court Case. Article.

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