If I am being denied my pension to to an alleged violation of a non-compete clause, what are my rights?

I left an employer in February2000 and was vested in a defined benefit pension plan that was to pay me $34,000 at 65 years old but I could start collecting after reaching 55 at a lesser amount. I am 60 and called them to start collecting next year. I was told my pension plan was terminated because I had violated their non-compete clause. Previous to this they had never said anything to me that my about this in writing or otherwise. What should I do?

Asked on September 3, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Speak with an employment law attorney, bringing with you copies of any documents, emails, memos, etc. relating to the pension and also copies of the noncompetition agreement (or the larger agreement it's in) and any other relevant correspondence. IF the governing documents of the plan or the noncompetition agreement specifically state that you will forfeit your pension if you violate the agreement,  then it may be legal to deny you the pension--but it would not be if you had never agreed to that term. Therefore, you need an attorney to review the relevant documentation with you. Good  luck.


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