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John, Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5684
Experience:  Exclusively practice labor and employment law.
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Former employer told me that if I left my position, I would

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Former employer told me that if I left my position, I would lose all of my unmatured stock options. I have recently learned that the rules of the stock option plan state that if you are over 55 and have been employed with them for more than ten years, any departure is classified as a retirement fro. Said plan, and employee can exercise them after departing said company. I was 56 years old and had been employed with them for fourteen years and seven months. This happened in 1999. Can I do anything about this?
JA: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Illinois
JA: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?
Customer: Full time. At will.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: They kept me on retainer for six months after I left at $5,000.00 a month. My supervisor was CFO and executive vice-president and was not happy that I was leaving with Y2K looming.

You technically have surpassed the statute of limitations for bringing an ERISA claim for employer benefits, 10 years in Illinois. However, if you can locate the pension administrator you can make a claim for those benefits. Or if you cannot locate the pension administration, contact the department of labor for assistance in locating the administrator and/or making an administrative claim for the benefits.(###) ###-####.

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Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Does it make any difference that the previous plan administrator is the one who told me that the VP instructed her to mark my file as a terminate? This stopped me from getting any further information about my options. I was told this for the first time in the last month since she retired. The plan is now being administered by a company that specializes in administration.

Here's the issue. You can make the argument, which a lot of people do, that you weren't provided or were denied plan documents in order to garner the knowledge that your leaving the company should have been a requirement under the plan. The problem is that this argument loses most of the time because employers or the plan frequently do post the plan in a place open to employee access. As long as they can show it was within our ability to get acces to the plan, they can destroy that claim. Hope this answers your questions.

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