The Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) is a piece of federal legislation that aims to protect most private-sector employees’ rights to their retirement or pension, health insurance, and any profit-sharing plans. Certain workers’ entitlements to these benefits are protected under ERISA. The federal government maintains oversight of covered plans and also sets minimum standards that employers must abide by when offering these benefits. There are penalties if they don’t.
Employers are obligated by ERISA to provide any participants with details about how their retirement, pension, health insurance policy and other company-sponsored plans are financed. They’re also required to do whatever is necessary to make sure that their participants clearly understand the main features of the plan that they have.
Companies are required by ERISA to appoint someone to a managerial role over plan assets. That person or entity in that position is expected to uphold certain fiduciary duties. Any private-sector for-profit employer that offers employee benefits such as retirement accounts and health insurance must also establish a grievance and appeals process that employees can follow should they have any unresolved concerns about their plan.
There are some common ways that employers violate their ERISA obligations. Many do so by interfering with a worker’s rights or by breaching their fiduciary duties to plan participants. If an employer denies employee benefits because for no valid reason, then they too may have violated their obligations under ERISA.
The leadership at your San Francisco company or its ERISA administrator may expose themselves to both criminal and civil liabilities if they improperly administer your retirement, health insurance or other workplace welfare plan. An attorney can review the evidence that you’ve amassed in your case and let you know if you can file suit to recover damages in your California case.