What is ERISA and How Does It Protect Your Employer Benefits?
ERISA is the Employee Retirement Income Security Act enacted in 1974. It places a set of rules and regulations on employer benefit plans, including retirement pensions and healthcare coverage. In recent years, we have seen many retirement pensions and other benefits disappear, leaving many hard workers confused and without enough funds to get them through life. Employers are not required to offer retirement benefits and healthcare plans, but if they do, they must adhere to these regulations. Keep reading below to learn if your employment coverage plans are up to code.
What Does ERISA Do?
- It makes sure you understand the plan: ERISA states that an employer must have a clear, detailed documentation of the plan and how it’s funded, so that the employee knows what to expect and where that money is coming from. Check your plans for discrepancies in the documentation.
- It makes sure your employer is a fiduciary: ERISA determines that the employer administering the plan acts as a fiduciary, which means that the employer must act reasonably in the financial interest of the company and employees covered. Determining what is “reasonable” is where things can get tricky and the law may need to get involved.
What to Do if You Suspect ViolationsCommon violations of ERISA policy include: improper denial of benefits to current and former employees through wrongful termination, fiduciary duty violations, and failing to uphold agreement terms. Practices such as backdating documents to reduce benefits, and improper plans that benefit the employer while lessening benefits for employees have been cited.
If you may have been affected, there are several options for you. You may file your case though the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), or you may file a lawsuit in court. Dallas employment lawyer Dan A. Atkerson has experience with many complex benefit cases, and can help you get the best available options.