In 1974, Congress passed the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) in order to regulate the area of employee benefits such as pension plans, group health insurance plans and other types of benefits provided to employees by employers. ERISA regulates not only employers and what types of benefits they can provide to their employees, but also a broad industry of companies that provide services to employers, such as administrators for 401(k) plans.
Employees who are injured away from work may make claims for disability benefits provided by the employer through a third party insurance company. Sometimes disputes arise between the employee and the employer, or between the employee and the administrator or insurance company, as to the employee’s eligibility for benefits under the terms of the written plan.
The Jett Law Firm can help employers navigate this legal minefield of technicalities and micro-regulation to endure that your practices meet legal scrutiny. We can also defend your company in the event litigation arises over the terms of the plan documents and your employee’s right to collect benefits.
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Many unionized industries in California work with Taft-Hartley trust funds, which exist pursuant to collective bargaining agreements and trust agreements between employers and groups of employers, on the one hand, and employees and the unions that represent them on the other hand. Employers that are signatory to union contracts may also be obligated to report and pay monthly contributions to union benefits trust funds. These trust funds are often multi-billion-dollar entities organized to invest money in anticipation of growing those funds for future retirement benefits. Many smaller employers in the construction industry may not realize the extent of their obligations when they first sign their union contracts, even short-term project labor agreements. When the trust funds come knocking on your door requesting an audit, they often want to review all your books and records and try to collect benefits for employees who never worked on your union projects. If you have not kept your records neatly, you may be heading for a very unwelcome surprise in the form of never anticipated liability for contributions, liquidated damages, interest and attorney’s fees.
I represented Taft-Hartley trust funds for the first five years of my law career. I understand what these trust auditors are looking for in order to impose greater liability than ever you thought possible. Let me help you negotiate a reasonable settlement and payment plan without all the expenses associated with protracted litigation in federal court. Let me help you make sure that the trust funds do not count hours worked by employees who never worked on your public works projects.