Atlanta employees lose pension lawsuit against the city

ATLANTA — The Georgia Supreme Court ruled in favor of the City of Atlanta in a class action lawsuit filed by firefighters, police and other city employees over changes to the city’s pension system.

Plaintiffs claimed a 2011 ordinance increasing their contribution is unconstitutional.

The police and firefighter unions sued saying the five percent pay raises they got were canceled out by the five percent they had to pay into the pension.

The high court upheld a Fulton County court ruling that dismissed their class-action lawsuit against the city.

Before the so called “pension reform,” City of Atlanta employees were required to contribute 7 to 8 percent of their annual salary to their pension plan. In June 2011, the city amended the pension plans to require employees to contribute 12 to 13 percent of their annual salary to the plans and left room for the amount to be increased to 12 and 13 percent.

In the decision, Presiding Justice P. Harris Hines wrote the local ordinance “did not alter Plaintiffs’ pension benefits, but rather modified their pension obligations, and in no manner divested Plaintiffs of their earned pension benefits, so as to implicate constitutional concerns.”