BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (CN) – A retired police officer claims the City of Tuscaloosa gives black officers a “lesser and inferior retirement amount” than white officers, who are given “larger and superior appropriations.” The officer claims the city pulled a fast one after a discrimination case in the 1970s.
Tuscaloosa was ordered in 1976 to reinstate black officers who were involved in a discrimination lawsuit against the city to “regular police officer status,” but the city “illegally classified” them as “special officers” so they could be excluded from a police retirement fund, Willie Bies claims in Federal Court.
Bies says he was one of the reinstated officers and that he made pension contributions to the “Police Fund,” When he retired in 1991, Bies says, the city told him he was eligible for just $181 per month in retirement benefits. Bies claims he should have received $1,638.41.
Bies said he was forced to sue the city to get “a reasonable and fair retirement amount” but Tuscaloosa told him he is ineligible for benefits under the Police Fund because he had reached the age of 35 when he was reinstated as a “regular” officer. Instead, Bies says, the city gave him benefits under a fund set up for hourly employees of the street and sanitation department, rather than the “superior Police Fund.”
Bies claims the city denied his request to look at his personnel files to support his retirement claims, and says he was denied “access to full recognition and benefits” because he is an “elderly African American male who exercised his constitutional right to seek full recognition and pension benefits.”
He seeks damages for violations of the Age Discrimination Act, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and civil rights violation.
He is represented by Lee Wendell Loder of Birmingham.