Many people in the District of Columbia have benefits plans through their jobs that are governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. Workers might want to be aware of a lawsuit that has been filed against Shell Oil and Fidelity for alleged violations of ERISA.
According to the complaint, the plaintiffs allege that Shell Oil failed to exercise its bargaining power to secure lower asset management and record-keeping fees for the benefit of the plan participants. The plaintiffs also allege that Shell allowed Fidelity to use the confidential data of the plan participants, including their Social Security numbers and investment choices, to engage in aggressive marketing campaigns for Fidelity's other financial products outside of the 401(k) plan.
Fidelity claims that the plaintiffs' allegations are unsupported and that some amount to outright falsehoods about how Fidelity conducts its business. Shell did not issue a statement about the lawsuit. The plaintiffs argue that Shell allowed Fidelity to put its proprietary mutual funds in place without screening participants to see if they were appropriate for them.
ERISA covers retirement and other benefit plans that are offered to employees by private employers. When an employer or plan administrator violates the duties that it has under ERISA, the employees have the right to file lawsuits to recover damages for their losses. People who believe that their employers or plan administrators have violated their fiduciary duties that they owe to the employees who participate in their plans may want to talk to experienced ERISA benefits claims litigation lawyers. The attorneys may review the facts and circumstances of what happened and provide their clients with an assessment of whether ERISA may have been violated. If the employer or plan administrator appears to have violated the law, the attorneys might litigate on their clients' behalf to recover damages in an amount to fairly compensate them for the losses that they have suffered.