My employer mailed a letter to all its employees (approximately 10k) in beginning of November 2018 stating (in bold letters) that as of January 1, 2019, employees would be allowed to take out loans towards their retirement plans. Until then it was not allowed, and being employed at this company for many years, this came to me a very important and welcomed news. I held on to it dearly. However when I wanted to apply for a loan, it did not work, and HR told me over the phone that this never was and is not an option. Until today that was the only explanation I received, although it clearly says in the letter that the modification referred to all available retirement plans. Based on this assumption, I made plans and now my life came to a hold. Can I hold my employer accountable?
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it clearly says in the letter that the modification referred to all available retirement plans. Based on this assumption, I made plans and now my life came to a hold. Can I hold my employer accountable?
Yes, unless the letter states that the option is contingent on something else (which is not palpable in your question). What you describe sounds in the torts of breach of contract and/or promissory estoppel.
To obtain recovery in promissory estoppel, plaintiff must establish
(1) [a] promise which (2) the promisor should reasonably expect to cause the promisee to change his position and (3) which does cause the promisee to change his position (4) justifiably relying upon the promise, in such a manner that (5) injustice can be avoided only by enforcement of the promise.
It is unclear how the employer thought he would be able to cope with a scenario where all eligible employees take a loan. But that does not change the fact that he made an offer and you accepted it (apparently making plans based on that), whence now he has to do good on his word.