IBM Corp.s new cash balance pension plan faces possible scrutiny by the Labor Department and the EEOC. Hundreds of IBM plan participants complained to the Labor Department after Big Blue converted its traditional defined benefit plan to a cash balance plan July 1. As a result, officials there have begun collecting preliminary information to determine whether to launch a full-blown investigation. And, a group of older IBM employees is expected to file an age discrimination complaint this month with the EEOC, said Christopher G. Mackaronis, an employment discrimination lawyer at Bell, Boyd & Lloyd. Mr. Mackaronis expects to be hired by the group. EEOC Commissioner Ida Castro "is very interested in the issue (of age discrimination and cash balance plans) and has begun to look at it, said Reginald Welch, a spokesman. He said EEOC officials have met with numerous "external stakeholders including lawmakers, plaintiffs lawyers and advocacy groups, on the issue.
A Labor Department spokeswoman declined to discuss if the agency is investigating the IBM pension plan, although a senior department official has said privately the agency is interested in such an investigation.