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Retired is retired, even without written notice

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

Employees who voluntarily retire aren’t eligible for unemployment benefits. That’s because retiring is considered the equivalent of quitting.

But recently, a retired employee challenged her retirement and applied for unemployment, arguing that she never put a retirement request in writing and therefore her employer couldn’t oppose her request for unemployment benefits.

Recent case: Over several years, Lorraine, a nurse for a religiously affiliated health system in Minnesota, had “casual conversations” with her co-workers, telling them that she intended to sell her house and retire so she could spend time with her family.

In late 2013, she sold her house to her employer for use as a new residential home for patients living in the area. Lorraine told co-workers she would be retiring at the end of February and moving into a condo in the Twin Cities.

Then she allegedly asked HR for an extension of her retirement date until May. She got that approval. On her last day, the company threw a party to wish Lorraine a happy retirement.

Within a week, she filed for unemployment compensation, arguing she had been terminated and that her employer should be barred from arguing she retired because she never made a written, formal request to retire.

The court didn’t buy her argument. Retirement requests don’t have to be written and it was up to the court to determine whether to believe Lorraine’s claims or her employer’s account. It believed the employer. (Rosenthal v. Cardinal of Minnesota, No. A14-1684, Court of Appeals of Minnesota, 2015)

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