What is ERISA?


Protection of employee benefits is of utmost importance and ERISA is a law that aims to provide this protection. ERISA stands for Employee Retirement Income Security Act. The Act is a federal law that was passed in 1974 and sets minimum standards applicable when private companies voluntarily establish benefits plans for their workers.

ERISA does not require your employer to offer you a pension, health insurance, or any other employment benefits. However, it does aim to make sure that when your employer promises you benefits, the company follows through. Workers rely on promises of health coverage, pensions, and other benefits and can face devastating financial disasters when employers fail to live up to their obligations. TERISA aims to protect employees from this type of loss and create a cause of action when a company, pension plan manager or other individual or entity fails to provide for employees what was offered to them.

ERISA allows workers who sustain monetary damages as a result of Act violations to pursue cases for compensation. Many such cases are brought as class actions. Whether you are an individual, a group of co-workers or an institutional investor who has been financially damaged due to the Act, hiring ERISA law attorneys is an important step in making sure you take full advantage of protections offered by law. Zamansky LLC is here to help, so call now.

How Does ERISA Protect Employees?

ERISA does a number of different things including:

  • Requiring companies that establish voluntary pension or health plans to provide information to employees about the plan, including details about funding and plan features
  • Establishing a fiduciary responsibility for all plan managers and all those who are in control of plan assets. Fiduciaries are required to operate pension plans by solely acting in the best interests of plan participants. Requirements include acting prudently when making investment decisions, following plan document terms, minimizing risk by diversifying investments, and limiting plan expenses
  • Mandating that all plans include a grievance and appeals process for participants to make claims if they believe they are being denied promised benefits
  • Creating a cause of action, allowing plaintiffs to file civil lawsuits to obtain promised benefits and to recover for breaches of fiduciary duty

ERISA has been amended numerous times since the passage of the law in 1974. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) is one amendment to ERISA, which gives employees the right to retain group health insurance for a period of time after a job loss or certain other events. Another amendment to ERISA is the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which protects employee privacy and prohibits discrimination on the basis of health coverage.

How Can You Get Help?

If you believe an ERISA violation has occurred, taking action quickly is essential so you can protect your right to receive promised benefits. ERISA law attorneys at Zamansky LLC are here to help you understand your rights and explore legal avenues for recovering compensation for losses or suing for benefits. Give us a call today to learn more about how our firm can assist you with using ERISA provisions to protect your interests.