Is it legal for the company to RIF me with a March 31 end date after announcing my retirement date of June 30?

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Is it legal for the company to RIF me with a March 31 end date after announcing my retirement date of June 30?

Scenario Employee in a large corporation. In January I fill out all the HR paperwork for retirement on June 30. By that time I would have my ’70’ age YOS which entitles me to specific retirement beneifts, insurance, etc. My service anniversary is April 1. If I am RIF’d as of March 31 I miss my ’70’ by one day so I would lose out on retirement benefits and insurance. Is this legal?

Asked on April 27, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Nebraska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

It is questionable whether this is legal. While it is true that a company does not need to put your interests as employee ahead of its own interests, so that if it has a legitimate restructuring or RIF which had been planned, it can lay you off as part of that without having to wait until you are vested in benefits, the question is: IS this a legitimate RIF? You do not indicate who else, if anyone, is being RIF'd (if no one else, that alone almost certainly makes this illegitimate), but the mere fact that this would occure ONE DAY before your eligibility for certain benefits and was announced *after* you told them of your retirement raises red flags. An employer may not in bad faith deprive you of benefits you have earned and may not discriminate against those age 40 and over; you therefore are entitled to protection if this is only a pretextual RIF and not a legitimate one (i.e. just an excuse to deny you benefits). Consult with an employment attorney in detail about the situation; the lawyer can help you determine if you have rights it this case and, if so, help vindiate or protect those rights. Good luck.


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