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Constitutional Law Keyed to Cohen
Allied Structural Steel Co v. Spannaus
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In 1974, Minnesota enacted the Private Pension Benefits Protection Act (Act) that required employers to cover pensions for employees who had worked at least ten years for them. A provision specified that periods of employment prior to the effective date of the Act were to be included in the ten-year employment criterion. Allied Structural Steel had a private plan with their employees. When they closed their offices in August 1974, nine of the discharged employees did not have any vested pension rights under the company’s plan but had worked for the company for ten years or more and qualified as pension obliges of the company under the Minnesota law. They were charged $185,000.00 under the provisions of the Act. The company claimed it was unconstitutional because it impaired the contractual obligations to its employees under their pension agreement.
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