Court: Verizon can't Change Ex-Employee's Retirement Date

March 7, 2005 ( - An employer can't retroactively change a former worker's retirement date necessary for the worker to get credit for full 30-year pension, a West Virginia federal judge ruled.

US District Judge Joseph Goodwin of the US District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia ruled that “justice requires” that the court enforce Verizon Communications’ original promise to the employee. Verizon denied the employee a full 30-year pension benefits after the employee went to work for a competitor before his recorded retirement date.

The decision by plaintiff Thomas Eastes to take the competitor’s job should not be held against him in determining his pension, Goodwin ruled.

“Any reasonable person in Mr. Eastes’ position would have assumed that he was free to seek other employment,” Goodwin wrote. “Accordingly, it offends notions of justice and fair plan for Verizon to assert that Mr. Eastes ‘violated company policy’ by accepting employment with another phone company.”

The case, Eastes v. Verizon Communications, is  here