DukeEmployees.com - Duke Energy Employee Advocate
EEOC - Page 1 - 2000
tells you he loves America, yet hates labor, he is a liar!" - Abraham Lincoln
Duke Energy Employee Advocate - 3/21/2000
It never took a great deal of time to file a cash balance age discrimination charge, only long enough to answer a few questions. Now, it is even quicker to file a charge. Employees who filed charges last week have said that so many Duke people have filed age discrimination charges that the EEOC investigators almost know the answers by heart. Why should you file a cash balance age discrimination charge? First, it's quick. Second, there are potentially a couple hundred thousand other reasons to file also. Each one possibly payable to your retirement account (that's where they came from). It could be the most important thing that you do this year, and maybe this decade (millennium?). Do not underestimate the possible benefit that this small effort could have on your future retirement, and the number of years that you must spend toiling your life away. You will not see any EEOC advertisements. They have regulations against aggressively seeking clients. It is up to us employees to get the word out to all of our coworkers. No guarantees can be given, other than: "You'll sleep better."
Duke Energy Employee Advocate - 3/20/2000
One person who just filed an age discrimination charge with the EEOC said that he only recently found out that he could file a charge. Please ensure that your coworkers know that this opportunity is available to them. Don't assume that they have already heard about it. As it stands now, Duke Energy Employees of ANY age can file an age discrimination charge due to the cash balance conversion.
EEOC Press Release - 3/15/2000
Yes, the EEOC wins cases. This press release tells of the victory over Chuck E. Cheese's and the substantial jury award.
Duke Energy Employee Advocate - 3/10/2000
Believe it or not, a preliminary victory has been won over Duke Energy's cash balance conversion. Thanks to the hundreds of Duke Energy people who have filed age discrimination charges with the EEOC, an important milestone has been achieved. Duke Energy has robbed workers of significant pension and health benefits. The workers have, in turn, robbed Duke Energy of propaganda rights. Now, when the media asks Duke about the cash balance conversion, and they WILL ask, Duke can no longer say, "Our employees just LOVE it; we have not had ANY complaints!" Without our age discrimination charges, Duke's spokespeople would sing that sorry refrain from the tops of mountains. Now, if this lie even starts forming in a spokesperson's mouth, it will promptly be shoved down their gullet. Duke's cover-up has been uncovered. Before this is settled, Duke WILL answer to someone. Duke can stonewall but, they cannot stonewall forever. The defendant who is guilty as sin, never seems willing to testify.
Duke Energy Employee Advocate - 2/28/2000
Did Duke Energy Corporation violate age discrimination laws converting to a cash balance plan? There is a preponderance of evidence that says YES!
Duke Energy has gotten away with many questionable activities over the years simply because no one ever questioned them. Well, Duke Energy wants us to have a questioning attitude! Filing an age discrimination charge is simply questioning the process, nothing more. The alternative is to let Duke soft shoe their way out of another one, while their pockets are bulging with YOUR earned pension money! We choose to question the process. If you file an age discrimination charge against Duke Energy, you may or may not get your retirement money back. If you do not file a charge, what do you think you will get back?
Duke Energy Employee Advocate - 2/27/2000
Employees have said that different EEOC investigators have given conflicting information. Some employees have complained that the investigators do not always return their calls. We fully agree that this is the case. Bear in mind that we are dealing with a government agency. A certain amount of bureaucracy is to be expected. There are literally hundreds of EEOC investigators across the United States. If all were asked the same question, there would likely be many different answers. We may not understand how the EEOC operates but, in the end, they may be our best friend. The main thing is, as of last week, employees can still file age discrimination charges against Duke Energy and there is no cost to you. No one knows when that will change. There has been no indication at this time that our charges will achieve class action status. Different investigators will give different opinions as to what will or will not constitute the charges being pursued on a class action basis. From the employee's perspective, splitting hairs over each esoteric point serves no purpose. If we have filed an age discrimination charge, we have done all we can do. Let the EEOC take it from there. One other factor to consider is the situation can change on a daily basis. What was true last week, may not be true today. If you do call the EEOC, ask to speak to an investigator. The receptionist is there to direct calls and cannot be expected to be able to answer all questions. If you have not filed an age discrimination charge with the EEOC, and would like to know the current process for filing charges against Duke Energy, call 1-800-669-4000. That number will connect you to the nearest EEOC office. Then you will be able to get the current facts. As to calls not being returned, call every day if necessary to get your questions answered; it is YOUR retirement at stake. The investigator's work load probably varies widely from day to day. Some days it just may not be possible to return all calls. While we recommend calling the EEOC first, no appointment is necessary to file an age discrimination charge. The end results may well be worth any minor annoyances we must deal with up front.
Duke Energy Employee Advocate - 2/26/2000
In October of 1999 the EEOC Charlotte District Office was making plans for a meeting with Duke Energy employees. Duke employees called the EEOC office and left their names and phone numbers to be contacted about the meeting. The meeting was held in Charlotte, North Carolina on 11/20/99. Some employees mistakenly thought that by calling the EEOC, talking to an investigator, and leaving their contact information that they had filed and age discrimination charge. This is NOT the case. That list was only to notify people about the upcoming meeting. To file an age discrimination charge, you must visit an EEOC office and sign the charge in person. So, if you have not been to an EEOC office and signed a charge, you are not included in the investigation. Some employees filled out a questionnaire and mailed it to the EEOC. This also does NOT constitute filing an age discrimination charge. If either of these cases applies to you and you want to file an age discrimination charge, by all means, visit an EEOC office as soon as possible. If you have any doubt, call the EEOC and ask to speak to an investigator.
Duke Energy Employee Advocate - 2/15/2000
For newcomers: The U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is now accepting age discrimination charges against Duke Energy Corporation, and other companies, who have made cash balance plan conversions. For now, the filing limit and age limit has been waived. It does not cost anything to file a charge with the EEOC. Your tax money has already paid for it. This may be the only chance you will ever have to recoup the money that Duke took from your retirement plan. You have already paid for the services of the EEOC so, why not use them? 1-800-669-4000 will connect you to the closest EEOC office. There are EEOC offices all across the United States. Almost everyone lost retirement money with the cash balance plan conversion. Everyone lost except Duke Energy. Duke raked in the cash by the truck loads! Duke was smiling like the Cheshire cat. Duke was smiling until the age discrimination charges started pouring in, and the IRS started investigating the plans, and the Department of Labor started investigating. If you file a charge, Duke will have to answer it. If charges were filed in sufficient numbers, the employees would win no matter how the EEOC ruled. If sufficient charges were filed, Duke would have to admit that they have a problem and deal with it. Duke will stonewall and ignore the employees as long as they can get away with it. Even if you are only 30 years old now, you may want to call the EEOC. You may have suffered the biggest loss of all. You probably lost 50% of your retirement fund value with the opening cash balance. If you must now work until you are 65 to draw what you could have at 51, you are really in trouble. You lost money AND 14 years of your life! Call the EEOC and talk to an investigator.
Duke Energy Employee Advocate - 2/7/00
Let's drag this ugly issue out into the light of day. Duke employees have written, "I want to file an age discrimination charge but, I am afraid that Duke will fire me." First, congratulations on having the courage to admit the fear. Acknowledging the fear is the first step in overcoming it. The important phrase is, "I want to file an age discrimination charge..." The key question is: are you going to allow Duke to control your life in areas where they have absolutely no jurisdiction? Duke already has enough control of your life: when you come to work, when you go home, what days you will work, where you will work, etc. Are you willing to let Duke completely dominate all aspects of your life? The right to file an age discrimination charge is granted to you as an American citizen by the federal government. Duke has zero control over your decision to file a charge. Consider the thousands of Americans who have lost their lives to guarantee that you have certain rights. Are you really willing to throw your rights as an American citizen away over the fear of losing a crummy job? A job that gets crummier each day with each lost benefit? Let's consider the worst case. You lose you job. So, what? If you were to lose you job fighting corporate greed and injustice, is this not the way you would want to lose it? Unemployment is at a 30-year low! Other job are to be found. Better jobs. Jobs with a decent retirement plan. As long as Duke Energy can control you with this fear, you have lost the war, without a shot being fired. Duke Energy is the school yard bully. Once the bully is confronted, without regard for the consequences, he is rendered powerless. His stock in trade is fear and intimidation. If you do not buy what he is selling, the bully is nothing more that a pathetic joke.
But, to address the concern: the same federal laws that provide you with the right to file an age discrimination charge also protect you from employer retaliation. It is strictly illegal for Duke Energy to fire you for exercising your right to file a charge. In fact, it is illegal for Duke Energy to take any form of retaliation against you for filing an age discrimination charge. When you file your charge, the EEOC investigator will explain your rights under federal law. You will be instructed to immediately return to the EEOC office and file charges against Duke Energy for any retaliation!
It is true that Duke has made many stupid moves in the past. But, it is extremely doubtful that they would be stupid enough to make any retaliation attempts against you. Duke Energy is in the crosshairs of many federal agencies already. For Duke to make such an overt violation of federal law, would just be too good to be true. Duke wants out of the mess that they have fallen into due to their greed. Duke does not want to get in any deeper.
And, what of Duke's own Code Of Business Ethics? Duke's own ethics code, which they voluntarily introduced, states:
"Duke Energy will not retaliate against any employee for reporting suspected violations of laws, regulations or company policies. This means Duke Energy will not terminate, demote, transfer to an undesirable assignment, or otherwise discriminate against an employee for calling attention to suspected illegal or unethical acts."
Age discrimination is certainly a suspected violation of federal law. Our retirement rip-off was certainly unethical. You are protected under federal law and Duke's own ethics code. Duke does not want to give any more federal agencies any more silver bullets. Duke wants to do what will cost them the least amount of money to get out of this. Giving the employees equitable retirement treatment may ultimately be the least expensive solution. Your age discrimination charge can help bring this about!
"The Dallas Morning News" - 2/5/2000
It seems that prosperous times only bring out more greed in some corporations. We know that to be the case with Duke Energy.
"Q: The hiring practices of high-tech companies have come under scrutiny in the last few years. Some have alleged that firms are replacing older U.S. workers with foreigners. Has the commission looked into these charges?
"A: Concerns regarding the high-tech industry have been expressed to me in various parts of the country. These concerns have basically clustered around three major issues: One is the glass ceiling concern - individuals whether because they are women or minorities can't move any further ahead. Another issue has been the abuse of foreign workers. The third concern, of course, has been the question of possible age discrimination.
"We are in the process of collecting information, as we should. There are no particular opinions we have as a commission regarding any one of these issues, except to say if and when we get charges relevant to this industry, we will pursue them."
Duke Energy Employee Advocate - 1/22/2000
Many employees who would sincerely like to see their pension benefits fully recovered, have almost no free time. Have we got a deal for you. Can you spare half a day? Not per week or per month, just half a day. You can file an age discrimination charge with the EEOC in that time or less. That is the single best action that any Duke employee can take today. It is basically, file it and forget it. There is nothing for you to "track and trend." The EEOC will have your number if they need you. You do not have to give them volumes of data; they can extract what they need from Duke Energy. You do not have to write a legal brief; the EEOC has attorneys for that. If you have the time, you can check here for news and maybe write a few letters. But, if you do not have the time, that's OK. Once you have filed an age discrimination charge, you will not miss the boat, should the investigation culminate in our favor. Just file and sit back and wait for the call from the EEOC. And, the EEOC has never been accused of over communicating! Get on our e-mail list to be fully on auto pilot.
Duke Energy Employee Advocate - 1/19/2000
When some Duke Energy employees went to the EEOC to file age discrimination charges, they met other Duke employees there. Mondays or Fridays are good days for many employees to file, since they are off work. For those who work all week long, a vacation day would be well spent filing a charge. With all the recent developments, our case looks better every day. At this point, it seems that only those who have filed a charge will participate in any settlement. Things are subject to change on a daily basis. You do not need an appointment, but it is prudent to call the day before you go. If you have been considering filing, do not procrastinate, it could be costly.
EEOC Press Release - 1/7/2000
Here is an EEOC victory over Wal-Mart:
Duke Energy Employee Advocate - 1/5/2000
The EEOC window of opportunity for filing age discrimination charges is open now. The age limits and filing time limits are waived, for now. This situation may not last indefinitely. Lobbyist are already hard at work attempting to deny you the right to file a charge. That's right, not only have you been stabbed in the back, now forces want to deny you the opportunity to even fight back! Would anyone go to this trouble if they were not worried about the possible consequences of the age discrimination charges? Read "How A Single Sentence By The IRS Paved The Way To Cash-Balance Plans" and "Skullduggery, Part 2." It is apparent that at least some people in the IRS have known all along that abusive cash balance plans have violated age discrimination laws. Andy Lang, retired actuary, is going to educate the EEOC attorneys on EXACTLY how the law was violated. He has encouraged all Duke Energy employees to file age discrimination charges with the EEOC. The office of Senator John Edwards is in contact with the EEOC to monitor the outcome of the Duke Energy age discrimination charge. The age discrimination charge may be your only opportunity for justice. There is no cost to protect your rights and file a charge. Your tax dollars have already earned you this right. Do not wait for the EEOC to contact you. That is not the way it works. The EEOC will help you ONLY if you ask for help. Please ensure that your coworkers know of their rights with the EEOC.