Fort Worth benefits lawyers help clients with benefits and other employment issues in Fort Worth and other parts of Texas. Employee benefits include 401k plans, pensions, health insurance, disability insurance and other similar benefits. Many of these benefits are governed by ERISA. ERISA is a federal law that exists to set minimum protections for many benefit plans. These benefits are part of your employment compensation. When your employer messes with your benefits it is effectively a pay cut. If your employer messes with your benefits then you should talk to a Fort Worth benefits lawyer right away.
Employment benefits in Fort Worth, Texas
Employee benefits are compensation for labor. It is a form of payment taken alternatively from cash in your paycheck. Granted, most employers do not give you the option to take benefits or cash but it is nevertheless a part of the employer’s cost to employ you. Additionally, many benefits available through employment are cheaper than what you could get if you bought the same coverage or dollar amount on your own as a consumer. These benefits are valuable.
Many employee benefits in Texas enjoy protection under federal or state law. These include ERISA and the ACA. These laws establish regulations for plan administration and require employers to manage the plan as fiduciaries. Employee benefit plans covered by ERISA include 401k plans, 403b plans, many pensions, health insurance plans, disability plans and other benefit plans known as cafeteria plans. When employers violate these laws they are liable to workers for losses. Fort Worth benefits lawyers help recover these losses.
ERISA is the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. Congress enacted ERISA as a basic protection for employee benefit plans. Before ERISA employees had few protections for their benefit plans. That is because plans were creatures of contract law, governed by state laws. Many states lacked strong protections for benefit plans. When the benefits failed employees had to choose between losing everything or hiring employment lawyers to pursue the employer. Often this was a futile effort because the employer was insolvent or nearly insolvent.
The final straw was when well known car manufacturer Studebaker declared bankruptcy. As a result of the bankruptcy a large number of employees lost their entire pension plan. The bankruptcy became a wake up call to Congress.
Additionally, there are many benefit plans beyond the scope of ERISA. These often include fringe benefits like vacation pay, sick pay, sick leave, some company reimbursement for business expenses, severance pay (sometimes). These benefits do not have the same level of protection as required by ERISA. Therefore, an employer can cancel those benefits at their discretion. Whether you have any continuing right to those benefits are often a matter of employment law or contract law.
Further, employers may have executive compensation plans like 409A plans or nonqualified plans. These plans often look like a 401k or pension in many ways. However, they are not ERISA plans. Therefore, if the employer becomes insolvent the employees may lose their benefits or at least have to line up in bankruptcy court to fight for payment.
Contact Fort Worth benefits lawyers
Fort Worth benefits lawyers help clients in Fort Worth and other parts of Texas with benefits issues. If you believe your employer messed with your benefits and harming your compensation then you should talk to a Fort Worth benefits attorney right away. Do not wait until the losses accrue to contact a Fort Worth benefits lawyer. It may be too late by that point.