Can an employer fire an employee who is eligible for retirement so they prevent the employee from receiving retirement benefits?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can an employer fire an employee who is eligible for retirement so they prevent the employee from receiving retirement benefits?

I am 62 years old. I work for an airline. They have fired me because I failed to
succesfully complete promotion training and would not let me retire first before firing

Asked on May 1, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

An employer cannot fire someone simply to prevent them from getting retirement benefits; but they can fire a retiring employee for other good cause, and if someone is properly being fired, they don't have to let him or her retire (or, for that matter, resign or quit) first.
It depends on the timing and facts, and every case is different. To give some examples:
1) You announced you were retiring first, before taking the test: they can't then fire you without letting you go through with the previously announced retirement (unless you do something justifying "for cause" firing, like excessive absenteeism, open insurbordination, falsying reports or time sheets, etc.).
2) They do not normally fire people who cannot or do not complete promotion training--in that case, it was likely improper to terminate the older employee when younger ones were not terminated.
3) If they do normally terminate people who fail this promotion training, then they could terminate you, too, if you had previously (prior to failing) announced retirement.
4) If you did something that would in and of itself justify termination without regard to age--for example, the reason you failed was that you did not attend training sessions, or you were insubordinate--termination is justified.
If you feel that based on the timing and circumstances there was no good cause for your termination and they terminated you, an over-40 employee, simply to prevent you from getting retirement benefits, then you should contact the federal EEOC or your state equal/civil rights agency to discuss the matter and possibly file a complaint. 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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption