Workers in Delaware are protected under ERISA, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. Your employee benefits like your retirement plan, disability insurance or profit-sharing scheme may be important to your future, and this law sets in place standards by which these programs should be governed. While they are provided by your employer, you also have rights that can be protected, especially in case of misconduct, misappropriation of funds or an unfair claims denial.

Who does ERISA apply to?

It’s important to know that ERISA does not apply to all employees; government employers and religious institutions are different. However, ERISA has more authority than state law when it comes to protecting workers’ rights to their employee benefits. This law is designed to protect employees who may see their pensions dissipating before their eyes, have their claims unjustly denied or lose out on value because of poor decision-making and breaches of responsibility by those responsible for the plan.

What must employers do?

Under ERISA, employers are responsible for providing their employees and former employees covered by these plans with major information about the plans, their features and how they are financed and governed. Those who manage employee benefit plans also have fiduciary duties, meaning that they must make decisions in the interests of the plan beneficiaries. They must make decisions that benefit the members of the plan rather than the company or themselves. In addition, they must set up a mechanism to handle employee complaints about the plan and an appeals process.

What can be done about ERISA violations?

If employers fail to live up to their duties under ERISA, plan members can sue them for their damages. In most cases, you’ll need to go through administrative procedures and the appeals process before you can file a lawsuit.

If you’re struggling with a claims denial or a declining value in your employee benefits plan, you may want to exercise your rights under ERISA. A Delaware ERISA attorney could provide advice on how to protect your rights and benefits.