The Firm represents executives and other professionals in Employee Benefits Discrimination and Interference Claims arising under ERISA § 510. ERISA prohibits any adverse employment action against an employee for exercising any right under an employee benefit plan. It also protects employees from interference with their attainment of any right under a benefit plan, and retaliation for participating in proceedings related to ERISA. A Chicago compensation lawyer can help you learn how these policies impact your case.
These cases arise in several contexts. For example, you may be a participant in an employee benefit plan about to vest, and your employer terminates you, claiming it is “for cause.” The Firm represents executives and other employees in such cases who have been denied retirement benefits under unfunded supplemental executive retirement plans, or who have been denied benefits under a severance plan because a termination from service was supposedly “for cause.” Though historically courts have treated the interference as having to result in an adverse employment decision, like being fired or laid off, more recent cases hold that is not required. If your employment status has been changed to exclude you from participation, or some other decision was made simply to avoid paying you the benefits, you may have a claim. Recently, the Firm represented a former executive of a large insurer whose employment was terminated just before his supplemental retirement benefits vested, purportedly “for cause.”
You may also be the victim of an employer that terminated your employment because of health conditions that are costly to the employer. This can result from having certain chronic conditions, like diabetes or heart conditions. Alternatively, the Firm has represented participants in employer sponsored short-term and Chicago long term disability plans who’s employment has been terminated because the employer did not want to risk paying disability benefits again.
Finally, you have a right to appeal any employee benefit plan claim denial, or bring a civil lawsuit to enforce your rights under ERISA § 502. Your employer is not permitted to take adverse action against you for exercising those rights. If you have been discriminated against for exercising any employee benefits rights, or your right to attain benefits has been interfered with, give us a call.