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Jogoesq, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 258
Experience:  17 years' experience fighting for the rights of employees in varied matters
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can you lose your pension if you are vested and have worked

Customer Question

have worked for a company 25-30 years (kaiser) and am vested and was fired. do i lose my pension? (california)
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Jogoesq replied 8 years ago.


In order to answer this, I need to know if your employee handbook or any other personnel policy specifically states that you will lose your pension rights if you are fired. Also, what were you fired for? It would help me to know these answers before I decide how I can best help you. Thank you.


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Reply to Jogoesq's Post: hi,
this is really for friend. (really true) I still work for kaiser she is 66 and they say she "precharted". She is a nurse. but she has 25 or 30 years with company. She was vested and part of the unac union. The union is fighting for her job back as another nurse did this and was let back to work after 3 days suspension. First they gave my friend 3 days suspension and the union and all agreed. Then when she was due to return to work, they had her come to another meeting, then elevated it to termination. The union book didnt say anything about losing pension. They offered her her retirement and to clean her record, but not her job back. (because the union told them that they knew about the other girl they let back. Does she also have an age discrimination case? she checked some boxes that was considered precharting. Does the law protect pensions? Are they just offering her something that she already has anyway? she wanted to retire in 2010. Is there anything she can do?
Expert:  Jogoesq replied 8 years ago.


Thank you for your response.

If she did smething that is ordinarily considered to be unethical or a violation of standards, then she is wrong. It does not matter if someone else did this and they got their job back, because every case is different, and you may not know all the facts of the other person's case.

The law does protect pensions, and also if you are "vested" they cannot take that away because the "vesting" is considered similar to a contract. Unless personnel policies or the union rules state specifically that she can lose her pension if she is terminated for misbehavior, then it cannot be taken away rom her without legal repercussions.

In order to maintain a claim for age discrimination, the person has to show that she was treated differently than others who did what she did, strictly on account of her age. If the employer offers a reasonable business reason for treating her differently, she then has to show that the employer's excuse is just a pretext for age discrimination. This is a high burden of proof.

She has six months from the termination date to file a complaint with the EEOC and there is no charge for doing so. She should go to the EOC office in her city or county. They will assist her to file the complaint, which will then be forwarded to her emplolyer for response. The employer's response will be given to her and she can always write a rebuttal if appropriate.The EEOC will then attempt to resolve the dispute. If they cannot do so, they will give her a right to sue letter and she can then file a suit against the company in Federal court.

I am not sure she wants to do this at her age, but that would have to be her decision. I hope this gives you and her some guidance. Best of luck to you both.