A Columbus ERISA Lawyer Ready To Fight For Your Rights
If a business is struggling or looking for ways to improve its bottom line, the owners may be tempted to look for ways to save money on health and pension benefits for employees. For example, if an employer knows that a certain employee or one of their covered family members has a medical condition that requires costly medical care, they may decide to terminate that particular employment relationship to avoid higher costs for their health insurance plans. Additionally, an employer may want to terminate certain employees before they invest in the company-provided pension plan to cut costs. Both of these types of actions, however, are unfair to employees and are prohibited under ERISA section 510.
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) is a federal law that provides employees with minimum protections in regard to the health care and pension plans provided by their private employers. One such protection under section 510 of the law is that an employer may not do the following to an employee who has exercised their rights to benefits under ERISA:
- Discriminate against; or
- Any other manipulation of their employment with the intention of interfering with the employee’s right to benefits.
If an employer does discriminate against an employee for benefits claims or tries to interfere with their rights to benefits, the employee has the right to bring a legal claim against their employer. Claimants can be either plan participants or beneficiaries and can be current or former employees, members of employee organizations, and more. The benefits in question can be welfare benefits including medical, disability, or death benefits, or can be pension or retirement plan benefits.
An employee will not always win a claim simply because they lost their benefits as a result of termination. Instead, the termination or other actions must be motivated by unlawful benefits interference or discrimination. Specifically, in order to prevail in a benefits discrimination or interference claim (commonly called an ERISA section 510 claim), an employee must sufficiently prove that the employer intentionally retaliated against the employee for making a claim or discussing making a claim or that the employer intended to interfere with benefits to which the employee was entitled. There must be a causal connection demonstrated between the adverse employment action and protected activity of the employee with regards to ERISA-entitled benefits.
Remedies may include reinstatement in their job and reimbursement of legal costs, as well as remedies for any accompanying claims of wrongful termination or unlawful retaliation and discrimination.
Consult With An Experienced ERISA Benefit Interference Attorney Today
Many employees may not realize their employers have violated the law and may simply feel like they were treated wrongfully or unfairly in regard to their benefits. In such a situation, you should never hesitate to discuss the matter with an experienced Columbus ERISA attorney who understands the many complex provisions of ERISA. At the Law Office of Mike Gertner, we help individuals stand up for their rights to benefits they deserve and lawyer Mike Gertner is an experienced litigator with almost 50 years of experience.