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Any arguments that I can use to convince my employer are welcome.

Unfortunately, "convincing" isn't really an option.

401k plans are governed by complicated legal documents that can not be changed on a whim (even with good reason). If the plan allows you to do what you are asking, then go for it. If not, no amount of pleading or wheedling is likely to help. You can ask your HR department for details, and you can ask for a copy of the 401k summary plan document, but if the plan as written doesn't allow it, it doesn't allow it.

You may have to chalk it up to experience. If its any consolation, you will make future investment decisions which will lose you far more money than you lost on this one. :-)

My employer - who claims I should have known - tells me I cannot 'catch' up

Hrm. Your employer has a point. If you wanted to participate in the 401k, you needed to ask when you become eligible to participate.

Good luck,
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