Is it legal to not disclose the vesting period of a 401k when hiring a candidate?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is it legal to not disclose the vesting period of a 401k when hiring a candidate?

I have joined a company which has always clearly stated an employer contribution 7 in this case in my offer letter. Prior to working for this company, I worked for two companies which did not have a vesting period. At the time of recruitment, I had received a booklet with a summary of the benefits along with the offer letter and read it all in detail before accepting the job. None of the documents or exchanged I have had with the HR during the recruiting process stated any vesting period. It’s only 3 months into the job, during a 401k presentation session that the whole truth came out from the financial advisor. Then, I asked the HR team to point out to me where this was referenced to me during the hiring process. They couldn’t point out to me where it was because it wasn’t but referred me to the detailed legal language of the Plan this is the only place it was in in addition to the presentation given by the financial advisor. However this detailed legal language of the Plan had never been shared with me during recruitment. I certainly felt extremely fooled. Since then, I have asked HR to make sure the summary benefits document that had been shared to me as part of the recruiting process. The document is still the same not referring to the vesting period.

I am astonished about these HR techniques used to hide some critical information. It is certainly quite unethical but is it really legal?

Thank you in advance for your help

Asked on February 28, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

No, there is no law specifically requiring employers to discuss a 401k vesting period with job candidates or prospective employees during the hiring process. Therefore, it is not illegal if the company failed to do so, and you would  have no recourse for their failure.

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.

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