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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 110363
Experience:  20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
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I was employed by IU Health for 38 years. I had the

Customer Question

I was employed by IU Health for 38 years. I had the guaranteed annuity years ago and was fully vested. The salary amount was frozen but we would still get increases on the pension payment for years of service when they decided to change to a 403b. I was located at IU Health Bloomington in accounting since my hire in 1976, and in January 2014 all of the accounting department was told that we were going to be Indy corporate employees. Our jobs did not change. We still worked only on Bloomington Hospital work and were located in the same place as always-Bloomington. For January 2015 we were given the option of accepting a job offer in Indy or we would be terminated with severance pay. All of our jobs were moving to the downtown corporate office. I accepted the Indy offer but I did leave employment in Oct. 2015. I received a lump sum offer a couple of days ago for the pension but my termination date says December 2013. I have called the HR and was was told that that two years of service, 2014 and 2015, do not count for my pension because I transferred from Bloomington to Indy. How can it be legal to not count my years of service in 2014 & 2015, especially 2014 when I was still working on the same job, at the same place - Bloomington Hospital? That year in particular sounds like manipulation in order to stop my pension.
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 month ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
This depends on the terms of the severance and transfer. If the hospital was all under the same pension system and it was a transfer, then your transfer should have included your pensions. However, the terms of that would be in the documents you signed and also in your pension plan agreement. Have you read those yet?
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
You make no sense. Please read what I wrote again. Severance has nothing to do with this. I never took severance. And in 2014 I did not "transfer". In 2015 it was follow my job to Indy or lose my job. It was lose/lose.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 month ago.
Please reread what I wrote slowly.
Generally, in your separation/severance it sets forth terms of pensions and benefits and whether or not they will continue. If you took a transfer deal then in lieu of severance agreement, you need to first look at that agreement and you ALSO have to look at your plan description/
This issue you are asking about is not in the law, it is a matter of contract, so until we know what your transfer agreement and your pension plan description says about this type of transfer, I can't really tell you if you have a claim because ERISA (Employee's Retirement Income Security Act) says these plans are governed by the terms of your plan description.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Okay. I already tried to tell you that in 2014 there was no agreement. IU Health just did what they wanted to do in 2014.There was no agreement and I went no where. I did NOT transfer. They just sent our payroll to Indy. We were still sitting in the same place doing the same jobs. There were about 3 other employees that were affected the same way. I will try to find an attorney that will look at what I am saying. As far as 2015 was concerned, I agreed under duress. My pension would have been frozen no matter what I did.If I left, I lost . If I stayed, I apparently lost. How nice for IU Health.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 month ago.
Thank you for your clarification. Please do not get frustrated, even going to a local attorney is going to require you to explain everything clearly and answer back and forth questions as we do not know your situation. A phone call may help you to communicate this better and we can get to the bottom of this faster for you.
Now, there is something in writing, it is called your pension plan description. That pension plan description will contain the terms they had to abide by. You did not "agree under duress" by the legal definition of "duress," you were given a choice to terminate your employment or transfer. You chose to transfer and while that may have been a difficult choice for you to make, it was not an illegal choice for the employer to give you, thus no illegal duress was involved.
Whether or not your pension should have continued from the transfer going forward depends on what the terms of your plan description and your employer's handbook states regarding pension.
Furthermore, have you looked at your pay stubs from the date of the transfer to see if pension contributions were taken out of those checks? If they were not taking contributions out of your pay, then they may have to make this up if your pension plan description and employee handbook states you remained eligible for pension contributions.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
No thank you.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 month ago.
I am sorry, but you need to gather the additional information and provide it to us or if you want to go to a local lawyer you can do so, but they will still need all of the same information I am asking you for.

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