Employment Retirement Income Security Act (shortened to ERISA) is a series of federal laws aimed at protecting the pensions, retirement funds and ongoing health insurance from employers who offer those plans. In addition to providing a legal framework for the rights of those employees benefiting from an employer-run retirement plan, ERISA laws provide the regulations for punishing employers who violate their employees’ rights or fail compliance standards.
Types of plans covered
When you are unable to acquire the benefits that your company group plan entitles you to, it may be time for filing an ERISA suit. The kinds of employee benefits that may be covered under ERISA laws could include:
- Employer-sponsored retirement plans (like 401(k) plans, pensions, profit-sharing plans, and deferred-compensation plans)
- Corporate defined-benefit plans and defined-contribution plans
Compliance standards for ERISA laws
The basis of a violation could involve both negligent and willful violations of an employer’s ERISA obligations. Some of the most common violations include:
- Breaches of fiduciary duties
- Incorrect or unlawful denial of benefits to a plan member
- Infringing on a current/former employee’s rights
Some examples of the ways that employers fail in these compliance standards could be the result of changing agreed-upon plan benefits, removing a laid-off employee’s health insurance too quickly, or failing to provide parity to mental health treatment.
Finding the support you need
If you’ve been denied your benefits, you may need to contact a lawyer specializing in ERISA claims and appeals to determine what benefits you’re eligible for and if a denial constitutes a potential violation.