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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 118720
Experience:  20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
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I was a NJ State employee, went to the Parole Academy in

Customer Question

I was a NJ State employee, went to the Parole Academy in 2001. The academy told us who already were state employees like me that we were grandfathered into the old Police and Fire Pension System (PFRS) which allows us to collect the pension after 20 years of service no matter the age. The new system after the year 2000 requires reaching both 20 years of service and 55 years age. I was administratively suspended in 2014, 1 month away from a 20 year Police and Firemen Pension System creditable service. I had military time to buy, went to Division of Pensions numerous times for advice and information. Every time I went there, I told them of being grandfathered into the old PFRS, and I was informed by its customer service employees and a supervisor that all I need to do is purchase that month and it will bring me to 20 years and collect right away. Once, I did, my attorney in charge of my case against the employer advised me that the case may take a couple of years and thousands of dollars, while at the same time Division of Pensions informed me that once the case is over or resign I can retire and collect my pension immediately. Due to all I cared about at the time was an income, I decided not to fight the case since the pension would start once I resign. So I did resign June 2015. Then I applied for my pension in October, and the supervisors at Division of Pensions approved it. A couple of months later they said I cannot collect until I am 55 years old since I did not go to the Police Academy prior to the year 2000, and I do not fall under the old law. I do not understand how they approve it after they meticulously review the entire facts, then change their answer later. I believe they are influenced by my previous employer, and believe there are other officers who went to the academy with me are still grandfathered into the old law. I was misled, which caused me to think it was safe and more economically to resign and not continue to work since I can collect the pension. My previous employer would intervene since they made it clear to me to be personal that I would never retire. I have been discriminated there before for being a minority, just as they have been discriminating other minorities (, and for being a part-time Soldier and going away on Army deployments a few times. I have suffered greatly because of this, mentally and financially. Please help. ***@******.*** ;(###) ###-####
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Attorney2020 replied 1 year ago.

Have you notified anyone of your belief that you were discriminated against?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Have never consulted an attorney for discrimination. Although, I felt discriminated due to their repetitive behavior, what I want to find out if a civil suit can be brought against Division of Pensions for misguiding or giving me erroneous information which led me to believe my pension is guaranteed now, therefore I resigned; nevertheless, now they changed their decision and I have neither a pension nor can get my job back.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year 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.

You need to file a pension appeal with the pension board. Unless you can prove that the only reaon they are doing this to you is based on your age/race/sex/disability/national origin, it would not be a discrimination claim. The fact they have discriminated against you in the past on other things, you had to raise that discrimination at that time. In this matter, you need to file an appeal and you need to prove to them that as the former employee you were already under the 20 year pension and you were grandfathered in when you transferred to the new job, you were not a new employee.

If your appeal to the pension board fails, then you can take it to court, but you have to start with the formal appeal to the pension board as part of the rule that you have to exhaust your administrative remedies.

I would urge you to use an attorney on your appeal, as it will greatly increase your chance of success in this matter.