Dentist's Termination of Talkative Hygenist Deprived Her of Retirement Benefits In Violation of ERISA § 510

A talkative dental hygienist established that her termination was motivated by her employer's desire to avoid funding her retirement plan.  Her employer, a dentist, claimed that he fired the hygienist because he'd received numerous client complaints about her excessive talking.  The court said that even if the dentist had received these complaints, the evidence established that another reason for her termination was the dentist's desire to avoid funding her retirement fund to make up for losses to the fund in 2008.  Since ERISA § 510, requires an employee to show that a motivating factor in her termination was to avoid paying employee benefits, and not that it was the sole reason, the dental hygienist succeeded on her claims that her termination violated § 510.  See Virga v. Robert T. Harrison D.D.S., P.C., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45422 (Apr. 27, 2011).

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