Can a company be held responsible for negligence in benefits/401k payout?

I worked for a national retailer from 2006 – 2010. Upon my termination of employment, I was entitled to my 401K and profit sharing payout after a waiting period of 1 month. However, Merrill Lynch had no record of my termination. My employer claims there was an errorthat caused my termination status to not be given to Merrill Lynch. My termination date was 8/18 and it is now 10/1. I am told that there is no solution to the problem and I will have to wait another 5 days to even contact Merrill Lynch about my accounts. Is there any legal recourse for their negligence?

Asked on October 1, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Sure if they are negligent and there are resulting damages.  But I really do not see where the damages are here.  Did the profit sharing and 401k become less valuable in some way because of it? Did you lose anything by not having it for the two weeks that you were entitled? Hoenstly, other than inconvenience, I do not think that you were damaged in any way with the delay.  It sounds as if it was just a clerical error and that it will be rectified as son as business opens next week.  If I have gotten it wrong then please write back with more details and I will see if I can better help.  Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.