George v. Junior Achievement of Ctr. Ind., Inc

The Court interpreted the term “inquiry” in Section 510 of ERISA broadly to include an informal interchange of questions from an employee to an employer. Here, the Plaintiff had notified his employer that it had breached its fiduciary duty by failing to deposit his withdrawn money into his retirement account; the employer responded by depositing the monies, and later firing the Plaintiff when he drew down the same account. Section 510 of ERISA prohibits retaliation “against any person because he has given information or has testified or is about to testify in any inquiry or proceeding relating to this [Act].”  The Plaintiff’s notification to his employer of the potential breach of its fiduciary duties, his questions, and their responses, constituted an inquiry under Section 510 of ERISA because his employer responded to the questions, and then acted adversely, by firing the Plaintiff, after the responses were given.

See George v. Junior Achievement of Cent. Ind., Inc., No. 11-3291, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 18571 (7th Cir. Sept. 4, 2012), vacated, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111846 (S.D. Ind. Sept. 28, 2011); see also 29 U.S.C. § 1140.

(Development authored by April Fuller)