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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    Default Misinformation Regarding Profit Sharing Benefits

    Question: Is it worth taking legal action against a former employer for deliberately providing misinformation regarding profit sharing benefits?

    Note: I live in Maryland but the employer is in Virginia.

    I worked for a company for over 1 year. In my offer letter I was promised a profit sharing contribution of between 10% and 15% of my base salary for each year I'm with the company. There were no other stipulations given to me either verbally or in writing.

    After recently leaving this company, I was surprised to find out that they have a 2 year waiting period to start vesting the contributions and it doesn't 100% vest until after 6 years. My employer claims he made this perfectly clear to me when I was hired but I certainly don't remember anything and I don't have anything in writing that explains the vesting schedule. When I pushed my employer he sent me the original document he has when he created the profit sharing plan. That's the first I've seen of this document and it doesn't have my initials on it or anything. He claims I'm the first employee to be upset about this and thinks he has done nothing wrong.

    From what I've read, it is a requirement to show me the full terms of the profit sharing benefit at time of hire so I can walk away if I don't like the terms. If no terms are provided, I can assume I will be immediately vested at 100%. I read that he is also required to mail me a printed copy of the terms at least once a year, every year, without me even asking for it. My employer thinks I'm ridiculous and has resorted to name calling and threats. He even asked me not to contact other employees or he would bury me (a legal threat, not a physical one). I wanted to work this out peacefully with him but this no longer seems possible. It really bothers me that he treats his employees this way.

    Do you think it is worth me taking legal action against this employer or should I just let it go? Do you know if there is help from the Department of Labor or some local government entity that could possibly help us do a professional mediation and take us to court if necessary? Any and all advice is appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Misinformation Regarding Profit Sharing Benefits

    This policy is a written document drafted before you were hired and reflecting the policy in effect at the time you were hired? Would it have been made available to you earlier, had you inquired about it?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    Default Re: Misinformation Regarding Profit Sharing Benefits

    I think the full information might have been provided to me if I had asked for it. I just didn't realize I had to ask for a clarification. When the offer letter says:

    "The companyXYZ retirement plan is a Profit Share style plan and companyXYZ currently targets a contribution of 10-15% of your annual salary. The final determination on the amount of retirement contribution is made at the end of the year and is based on the performance of the company as a whole. the most recent year's contribution was 15%."

    I assumed the only way I wouldn't be paid is if the company didn't make any money. I didn't know there would be any vesting schedule. I didn't know I needed to ask this. Just like I didn't think I'd need to know when I'd be paid my salary. I figured it would be twice a week or once a month and that it wouldn't be like once a year.

    I was naive and will just take my lumps and move on but I don't think it is right.

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