George v. Junior Achievement of Central Indiana, Inc.

Federal 7th Circuit Court
Civil Court
Case Number: 
No. 11-3291
Decision Date: 
September 4, 2012
Federal District: 
S.D. Ind., Indianapolis Div.
Vacated and remanded
Dist. Ct. erred in granting defendant-employer’s motion for summary judgment in ERISA action by plaintiff-employee alleging that he was terminated in retaliation for making verbal complaints that defendant had failed to deposit money withheld from his paycheck into his retirement account. While Dist. Ct. found that plaintiff’s verbal complaints were not covered under anti-retaliation provisions of section 510(a) of ERISA because they were not part of “inquiry” associated with formal proceeding, Ct. of Appeals found that section 510(a) covered bona fide employee grievances regardless of whether employer had solicited information regarding employee’s grievance, and that instant complaints about funding plaintiff’s retirement account qualified as “inquiry” where defendant had allegedly responded to said complaints by taking adverse action.