ERISA Glossary


The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) extends protection to workers whose employers have set up private pension funds or voluntarily offered health benefits. ERISA allows employees to bring a civil lawsuit to recover compensation for employer violations or for violations of any regulations applicable to pension fund managers. The protections in the ERISA are broad and aim to ensure no employee is left without promised benefits.

Too many employees, however, do not understand ERISA protections. ERISA is written in legalese, and the technical complex language found within the statute is difficult for laymen to understand. An ERISA law firm can help you to interpret and apply the law to your own situation and can assist in making the law work for you, so calling an attorney as soon as possible is a smart choice. If you are not yet ready to call an attorney but want to know more about what ERISA means, you can review the glossary of common ERISA terms below.

The ERISA Glossary

Understanding all ERISA provisions requires a specialized, informed understanding of the law that can only be provided by a legal professional. For those who want to know what their rights are, calling an attorney is the best first step.

However, if you simply want to learn more about ERISA definitions so you can decide if you have a case and should call a whistleblower lawyer, consider these keywords and their definitions:

  • Plan Administrator: A plan administrator is an employer, plan sponsor, or other entity that is responsible for creating an employee retirement benefits scheme. A plan administrator is typically liable for compliance purposes, even after delegating tasks to staff members.
  • Plan Asset: Plan assets refers to money and property held in pension plans. The plan assets can come from contributions made by participants or employers.
  • Plan Participant: Current or former employees who remain eligible for some type of benefits from an employer-sponsored or employer-established pension plan.
  • Plan Sponsor:       A plan sponsor is a company or organization that sets up a pension plan system.
  • Fiduciary: A fiduciary is an individual or entity who ERISA designates as someone who must act in the best interests of all plan beneficiaries at all times. There is no stronger duty under the law than a fiduciary duty, and fiduciaries can be held accountable for bad decisions or for failure to look out for the interests of pension plan participants.

These are just a few of many words you will encounter when you peruse ERISA rules and regulations. Understanding all the language used in the Act and how courts have interpreted all the language, is very complex. You should have a knowledgeable advocate to help you.

Getting Help from Zamansky LLC

The bottom line is, if you are an employee at a private company and your employer has offered benefits, you are probably covered by ERISA. If you believe you suffered losses due to any failures on the part of employers or plan administrators to protect your interests, you should contact an ERISA lawyer to find out if you have a case. Zamansky LLC is here to help, so call now to learn more.