SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A federal judge allowed a class action against AT&T over pension benefits, finding a 55-year-old former employee a suitable enough class representative.
Quiller Barnes claims the telecommunications giant denied him the extra pension benefits to which he was entitled after he returned to work for an additional five years.
According to Barnes, the terms of his pension plan allowed him to “bridge his employment,” and because AT&T rehired him after a brief retirement period, Barnes said he was eligible for extra benefits.
Barnes sued in federal court after discovering that AT&T had not recalculated his benefits package to reflect his bridged service.
U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel rejected all of AT&T’s arguments for dismissal, finding Barnes an adequate class representative, even though he no longer works for the company. Had any other past or current employee presented a similar claim, Patel said, “he or she would have received the same answer from AT&T.”
The judge noted that AT&T falsely tried to “characterize the suit as one for money damages,” when Barnes simply wanted AT&T to recalculate class members’ benefits.