Hakim v. Accenture U.S. Pension Plan, No. 11-3438 (7th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Hakim was an Accenture employee for nearly 10 years before being let go as part of a workforce reduction. During part of his tenure with the company, he participated in the company’s pension plan. In 1996, Accenture amended the plan to exclude a number of employees in various departments. In 1999, Hakim was promoted to a position in which he was no longer eligible to participate in the plan under the terms of the 1996 amendment. Upon his 2003 termination, at age 39, Hakim signed a release in exchange for separation benefits that waived all claims that arose prior to signing the release. In 2008, while employed elsewhere, Hakim sought additional pension benefits from Accenture, arguing that the notice of the 1996 amendment to the plan (which was emailed to employees) was insufficient and violated ERISA’s notice requirements, 29 U.S.C. 1054(h). His claim was denied by Accenture. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Accenture, holding that Hakim knew or should have known about his claim when he signed the release, and thus waived his claim. The Seventh Circuit affirmed.