Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
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They cannot keep your pension under federal law. Either you have a traditional pension of formula amount per month (also known as a defined benefits pension ) or you have a 401k style pension where you and your employer contribute to an account that is all yours after some point (also known as a defined contribution plan). A defined benefit pension must totally vest to you at between 5 and 7 years of service, and a defined contribution plan totally vests to you at 3 to 6 years (and you are always totally vested in your contributions to the account. After these years of service you cannot lose your benefits absent some small exceptions. Your termination of employment does not divest you of your right to a pension. Thus human resources does not have the authority to and should not be notifying employees that the employer is keeping your pension. If that is a case you should immediately seek to sue the employer.
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