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Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, ERISA, the employer may set the terms of the retirement plan through the plan description. Early termination and withdrawal from the plan can be set up on terms as determined by the plan description and can set a specific time for withdrawal of funds (this is done so as to not financially harm the plan). Furthermore, early withdrawals from your 401K can incur a significant tax penalty if you are not of retirement age as set forth in the plan.
Legally, the employer may set a disbursement date in the plan for any early withdrawals upon separation and that is permissible as long as it is in the plan description.