A federal judge ruled yesterday that federal government employes over 60 years old, who retire on disability but are later rehired when their health improves, must be given the same benefits as younger employes when they return to work.
Judge Charles R. Richey said that a government policy limiting those employes to temporary positions or jobs where they could be fired at will violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.
Richey's ruling resulted from a lawsuit brought by Donald R. Moysey, formerly a program audit manager at the Department of the Interior who retired on disability in December 1974 because of a heart condition. A year later, after Moysey received a pacemaker, he was rehired in a new position as an audit officer, Richey noted in the opinion.
In December 1976, after almost a year on the job, Moysey was informed that he had been classified as a temporary employe. Later, when Moysey learned that his employment would be terminated the next April, he left the Interior Department, Richey wrote.
"Had Mr. Moysey been younger, he would have received different treatment from the department," Richey said. Persons less than 60 years old who recover from a disability and return to work do not serve as temporary employes, Richey said. Moysey claimed, and Richey agreed, that the government's policy denying him a permanent job, and the benefits of civil service protection, discriminated against him because of his age.
Richey banned both the Department of Interior and the Office of Personel Management from continuing to enforce that policy.
Richey also agreed that his decision in Moysey's case would be applied as a class action in behalf of all disability retirees over 60 years old who returned to work after Aug. 10, 1979, when Moysey, 67 filed his first complaint about his job classification. It also will apply to all such employes who want to return to permanent jobs in the future, Richey said.
Richey asked Moysey's attorneys to submit proposals for relief in the case, such as reinstatement for Moysey or other employes within 30 days.