Employee benefits — regulated in part by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), other federal statutes, and state law — are not made mandatory under Texas or federal law. When an employer chooses to provide employee benefits, however, the provision of such benefits is subject to regulation and failure to meet the statutory requirements can expose the employer to substantial civil liability.
Comprehensive end-to-end attorney counsel can assist with proactive measures to avoid potential liability risks. ERISA-protected benefits plans and other employee benefits must comply with relevant regulations and technical requirements, and best-practices must be implemented to manage risk appropriately. Here at Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP, our Houston employee benefits attorneys have experience counseling businesses on compliant implementation of benefits plans, as well as handling disputes when they arise.
Common Employee Benefits Conflicts
In the employee benefits context, there are a number of ways in which an employer’s actions can lead to a serious dispute — whether or not the benefits plan is ERISA-protected. These include, but are not necessarily limited, to:
- Mismanaged benefit plan funds
- Termination of a benefit plan
- Denial of benefits
- Under-calculating benefits
- Withheld benefits
- Failure to comply with statutory requirements
- Benefit plan funds misused by employer
- Breach of fiduciary duty
- Failure to timely respond to requests for benefits
- Terminating an employee for the purpose of avoiding a benefits payout
- Misrepresenting benefits and requirements
- Engaging in retaliatory actions against the employee for requesting benefits
Recovery can vary significantly depending on the circumstances surrounding the particular violation. An action brought against an employer who made a mere mistake in failing to accept the employee’s request for benefits is likely to result in lower damages than an action brought against an employer who intentionally and maliciously withheld benefits from an employee (thus exposing them to potential punitive damages).
Our attorneys have years of experience defending employers against employee benefits claims and assisting employees in bringing an action against their employers. This experience handling disputes on both sides of the employer-employee relationship gives our attorneys the knowledge and tools necessary to effectively counter the litigation strategies utilized by opposing counsel in an employee benefits case.
Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP is a Texas multi-practice firm that brings to bear decades of comprehensive experience in labor and employment law in representing clients in disputes relating to employee benefits. Our Houston employee benefits lawyers are well-equipped to handle litigation on behalf of either the employer or the employee. Our attorneys have a reputation for aggressive advocacy, and are more than capable of resolving a dispute in mediation or arbitration, but are willing and able to pursue a case through trial (and later appeals) if necessary. The provision of end-to-end counsel services gives our clients a competitive edge during negotiations.
We offer unique fee arrangements that ensure clients can accomplish their strategic objectives in litigation while remaining within budget.