New York City Agrees to Pay $20.8 Mln in Nurses Case -Justice Dept.

By Reuters Staff

July 19, 2018

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New York City has agreed to pay $20.8 million to settle federal discrimination charges made by registered nurses and midwives who said their work was not recognized as "physically taxing," the Justice Department said on Wednesday.

"As a result, City employees in the predominantly-male 'physically taxing' jobs were allowed to retire with full pensions as early as age 50, while registered nurses and midwives, who are predominantly female, had to wait until age 55 or 57 to retire with full pensions," the department said in a statement.

The settlement applies to 1,665 registered nurses and midwives hired from Sept. 15, 1965, to March 31, 2012. Once a court approves the settlement, the city would pay the registered nurses and midwives between $1,000 and $99,000, depending on years of service, the Justice Department said.

The city began in 1968 to allow city workers with 25 years of service to retire with full pensions beginning at age 50 if they had jobs deemed "physically taxing," it said.

New York City refused to recognize the work of registered nurses and midwives, which was performed mostly by women, while it bestowed the designation on work performed mostly by men, including emergency medical technicians, exterminators, motor vehicle dispatchers, window cleaners, foremen and plumbers, the department said.

The New York State Nurses Association union in 2004 began asking the city to give the "physically taxing" designation to nurses and midwives and allowing them the option of retiring at 50.

After multiple refusals by the city, the union and some members filed complaints with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which investigated the matter and determined there was reason to believe the city had discriminated against the nurses, Justice said in its statement.

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