I am a partner in a professional firm (Professional association) in South Carolina. I wish to start a retirement path, with a two year countdown to retirement, and a penalty of 20% of salary to compensate for not taking night work. Precedent in this group has been a 5 year clock and 35%. Our company bylaws do not address this issue and the employment contract states that such arrangements are to be made between Employer and employee and does not specify details. I have acquired company minutes dealing with this issue that basically just discuss each individual case and state that so and so is going off call at 35% and also mention five years. One reference from 1996 states that one is "limited" to 5 years of semiretired status. My group met twice about my request for 2 years/20%, once in January, once just last week. In the January meeting, one partner, who is on our executive committee (as am I) was adamant that the 35% was needed because of the nastiness of our night work. Many agreed with me that declaring my retirement in two years was of value to the group as they could then plan for hiring. The discussion was tabled due to the late hour, and resumed last week. I presented the case and numbers, and said I would be willing to go 25%, which translates to the amount of money I've been paying for hourly coverage of our night call. One partner moved to accept my deal, but before a second was heard, the president of the group said "we aren't done discussing this," thwarting a vote. The same partner that insisted on the 35% figure in the January meeting stated that our precedent REALLY meant that the figure applied to any point UP TO 5 years. I said this was news to me, and I would not have attempted this path if this UP TO clause had been known to me. I asked if this was anywhere in writing, and the president of the group said he would have to dig up the minutes from years ago. The other antagonist said he was told this when he interviewed 12 years ago. The fact that the minutes would have to be reviewed, and that this UP TO clause had not been mentioned until half-way through the SECOND time this was discussed, and also that the president admitted that he had not looked at the minutes tells me that there is no such clause and they hadn't done any research into this at all. And it is very doubtful that the minute details of retirement were discussed with the other fellow when he interviewed, and the two that went onto semiretirement at 35% did not do so until several years AFTER this interview. Basically, two senior members of my group lied to me in a group board meeting so as to keep me from discussing a different retirement path penalty. Do I have any recourse? Thanks!
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