DATE POSTED 19. 07. 2016, By

Possible Penalties Your Employer May Face For ERISA Violations

If you believe your employer or its insurance provider has violated ERISA, you have many different legal rights under the law. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) is a complex federal law that regulates and enforces guidelines for employer-provided benefits including the following:

  • Long term disability insurance;
  • Health insurance;
  • Pensions;
  • Retirement plans.

The are many advantages when an employer decides to offer such benefit plans. However, when an employer or an insurance company fails to properly provide benefits or administer a plan fairly to employees, the employees can suffer unnecessary losses. Fortunately, the law provides such employees the right to take legal action to enforce the law.

Common ERISA Violations

The following are only some of the most common violations of ERISA that may cause harm to an employee:

  • Failing to provide necessary and important documentation about the plan features, benefits, and costs;
  • Failing to set up proper procedural avenues for employees to file complaints about certain plans;
  • Not properly managing or administering a plan in line with the fiduciary duty owed to all plan participants;
  • Interfering with an employee’s right to benefits under a plan;
  • Retaliating against an employee for making a benefit claim or for filing a complaint regarding a plan or benefit;
  • Wrongfully denying valid claims for benefits to either current or former employees.

If any of the above violations occur, it cause employees harm and § 502 of ERISA gives employees the right to file a legal claim against the employer. In addition, the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) may also take action. If you believe you may have a claim, you should discuss your options with a highly experienced ERISA lawyer as soon as possible.

Civil and Criminal Penalties For ERISA Violations

Depending on the specific details of the situation–including the gravity of the ERISA violations–your employer may have several different civil penalties imposed by either the courts or the ESBA. The penalties can include:

  • Providing benefits to you that were wrongfully denied or interfered with;
  • Providing you with any interest that accrued as a result of the delay or denial of benefits;
  • Covering your attorney’s fees that were required to bring your ERISA claim;
  • Up to $1,000 in fines paid to the ESBA per day that violations occurred.

If your employer acted particularly egregiously in the violation, they may face criminal charges that may result in up to 10 years behind bars and a $100,000 fine. The company itself can face up to $500,000 in criminal fines for severe and willful violations.

Discuss A Potential Claim With An Experienced Chicago ERISA Attorney Today

If you believe that your employer or disability insurance provider has violated ERISA in any way, you may have rights to recovery under the law. By bringing a claim, you can enforce ERISA and your employer and/or insurer may face serious penalties until they comply with the law and provide the benefits you fully deserve. At the Roberts Bartolic LLP, LLC, our Chicago ERISA lawyer routinely represents individuals in claims under § 502 of ERISA and we understand how to best protect your rights. Call us today for a free consultation at 312-635-1600.

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