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June 13, 2013

Application to participate in the employer's “Vested Benefits Program” rejected because the individual was not an employee “in good standing” when he resigned from his position

Application to participate in the employer's “Vested Benefits Program” rejected because the individual was not an employee “in good standing” when he resigned from his position
2013 NY Slip Op 04102, Appellate Division, First Department

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey advised an employee that disciplinary action was being taken against him because he failed to obtain the Authority’s permission to engage in outside employment that was required to be so employed. 

Subsequently the employee submitted his resignation from his position with the Port Authority and then filed an application to participate in the Authority’s Vested Benefits Program “as a retiree.”

The Port Authority rejected the individual’s application to participate in its Vested Benefits Program because was not an employee “in good standing” when he submitted his resignation from his position. As a matter of policy the Authority deemed that “disciplinary action is pending” if the employee has been informed that disciplinary charges are being prepared.

According to the Appellate Division’s decision, the Authority’s rejection of the individual's application to participate in the Authority's "Vested Benefit Program" was based on its long standing policy that an employee who resigns while disciplinary charges are pending is not “in good standing and is therefore not entitled to such benefits.”

As the individual had been advised that disciplinary charges were being prepared prior to the effective date of his resignation, the Appellate Division ruled that the Authority’s rejection of his application to participate in the Authority’s Vested Benefits Program was  “not arbitrary and capricious or affected by an error of law.”

The court then indicated that the Authority had “reasonably complied with its own regulations when it determined that the lack of good standing disqualified petitioner from eligibility to participate in the Vested Benefits Program.”

The decision is posted on the Internet at:       
http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2013/2013_04102.htm

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