Judge Allows Class Action Against Embarq, Sprint

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ A federal judge is allowing former employees of Embarq Corp. to continue with a class-action lawsuit
accusing the telecommunications company of age discrimination and
illegally canceling retirement benefits.

U.S. District Judge Kathryn H. Vratil on Tuesday denied most of a motion from the Overland Park, Kan.-based company to dismiss the
lawsuit. Sprint Nextel Corp. is also named as a defendant because
it spun off Embarq in 2006.

The plaintiffs claim Embarq violated federal law when it sought to eliminate medical coverage and premium subsidies for Medicare-eligible retirees. It also capped and, in some cases, eliminated life insurance benefits for some retirees.

Plaintiff attorneys estimate the lawsuit would cover about 13,000 retirees around the country.

An Embarq spokesman says the company is confident it will "ultimately prevail.''

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)