Your AARP ; The Law
By Emily Sachar
; Ask the Experts
; The issue: Should there be a time limit on how long an age
discrimination suit can be argued?
For more than 27 years, John Stannard,
62, had a job he loved at the Knolls Atomic
Power Laboratory (KAPL), in Niskayuna,
N.Y. Owned by the U.S. Department of
Energy and operated by Lockheed Mar-
tin Corp., the facility designs, builds and
tests naval nuclear reactors and trains U.S.
Navy personnel to operate and maintain
them. Stannard helped test nuclear con-
Then, unexpectedly, in 1996 he was laid
off as part of a workforce reduction. Of
the 31 individuals who were terminated,
30 were over age 40. “I was proud to do a
job which I considered important to our
national security,” said Stannard, who
now works as a janitor at the Knolls plant.
“When I was laid o;, I felt completely be-
trayed.” Shortly after the terminations, 35
new employees were hired, most of them
under age 40.
Stannard and 25 other older work-
ers sued in 1997, claiming in U.S. district
court that KAPL designed the reduction to
eliminate older employees, in violation of
the federal Age Discrimination in Employ-
ment Act. KAPL countered that it faced
budget pressure and needed to reduce
its workforce while retaining employees
with skills critical to the performance of
the facility’s functions. Neither KAPL nor
its attorney would discuss the case.
delay to the
; What it means to you: If you believe
you were laid o; because of your age, you
should file a charge of age discrimination
with the Equal Employment Opportunity
QIs it true that cellphone numbers are about to be released to telemarketers?
ANo, despite the e-mails that have been reappear- ing every few months since 2004. The latest one,
which began circulating over the summer, warns that
all cellphone numbers will “go public this month” and
customers will receive telemarketing calls unless they
register their numbers on the national Do Not Call list.
Like previous versions, that widely shared e-mail has
an air of authenticity because it notes the actual DNC
registration number, 1-888-382-1222. You can put your
cellphone on the list simply by calling that number or
going to www.donotcall.gov. There’s no need to register,
because most telemarketers use automated dialers,
and federal regulations already prohibit use of those
systems in calling cellphones without consumers’ con-
sent. —Sid Kirchheimer
QMy husband is 84 and about to go into a nurs- ing home. We have no assets or savings and live
on his Social Security benefit and work pension. Will
the government take all his income to pay for his
nursing care and leave me with nothing?
AIf he hasn’t already, your husband should apply for Medicaid as soon as possible. Under Medic-
aid rules, all of your husband’s income will go toward
his nursing home costs; however, you, as the at-home
spouse, will be given a monthly allowance to live on
from your husband’s income—up to a maximum $2,739
per month. Medicaid will pay the balance of his nursing
home care. —Carole Fleck
Emily Sachar is a journalist and author
based in Brooklyn, N. Y.
Experts: Federal Trade Commission, Better Business Bureau on Do Not Call; Jean Setz-
fand, AARP, on nursing home costs. Send your questions to: Ask the Experts, AARP
Bulletin, 601 E St. NW, Washington, DC 20049, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out bulletin.aarp.org for previously asked questions and answers. We regret that
the volume of mail prevents us from answering all questions.
LEFT: HOURGLASS, LEW ROBERTSON/CORBIS; MAN, JOSHUA ZUCKERMAN/GETTY IMAGES; RIGHT: MARK ZINGARELLI