There are many laws that protect workers' rights with regard to pensions and healthcare benefit plans. However, workers in Washington, D.C., should be aware of the Employee Retirement Security Act of 1974 and how the ERISA preemption can affect certain protections provided by local and state laws.
If you work in Washington, D.C., you may be concerned about how to handle improper actions taken by your employer when they affect your benefits. There is a law, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA, that is designed to protect the interests of workers in their retirement accounts as well as other key benefits provided on the job. While ERISA is best known as protective legislation to prevent unethical behavior with employee pensions, it also applies to medical insurance, health reimbursement accounts, additional health plans, disability insurance and severance agreements.
Workers in Washington, D.C., and throughout the country filed 107 401k lawsuits in 2016 and 2017. That was the highest since 2008 and 2009 when 169 such suits were filed. Excessive fees, self-dealing and poor investment choices are the three main reasons why a 401k lawsuit could be filed. In some cases, a lawsuit is the result of relatively vague guidance given to fiduciaries.