Updates – Employment Issues

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The ERISA Industry Committee Files Lawsuit Against City of Seattle

ERIC today filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington against the City of Seattle for obstructing the federal law that enables large employers to administer health and retirement benefits uniformly across the country. ERIC is requesting an injunction and a declaration from the court that federal law supersedes and preempts the health coverage and payment mandates in Part 3 of the Seattle Hotel Employees Health and Safety Initiative - SMC 14.25; ERIC hopes to work with the City and negotiate a temporary nonenforcement agreement, at least until a decision in the case is reached… More

The ERISA Industry Committee Files Lawsuit Against Oregon

ERIC has filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon against the Oregon Retirement Savings Board for obstructing federal law. In the complaint, ERIC is requesting an injunction against only the reporting requirement OregonSaves imposes on employers that already provide a retirement plan… More

ERIC’s Legal Complaint about OregonSaves State Retirement Plan: What You Need to Know

OregonSaves is the State of Oregon’s state-run retirement program. Signed into law in June 2015, the Oregon Retirement Savings Board was implemented and tasked with creating a defined contribution retirement plan for private-sector employees… More

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Supreme Court Strikes Down Yard-Man and the 6th Circuit Court’s Stranglehold on Retiree Health Benefits

Today the Supreme Court of the United States in essence overturned the infamous UAW v. Yard-Man, Inc., decision of 1983 (and subsequent offspring), where the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit found that certain retirees had a vested right to their health benefits in the absence of extrinsic evidence to the contrary in a collective bargaining agreement. … More

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Second Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Benefits Interference Claim under ERISA Seeking Same-Sex Spouse Coverage

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has ruled that a proposed class of health plan participants seeking coverage for same-sex spouses cannot proceed with claims of fiduciary breach and benefit interference under ERISA. … More

protected content Results from ERIC Poll on Time Limits in Plan Documents

Thanks to all the ERIC members who responded to our poll on time limits in plan documents!  Interestingly, over half of respondents… More

protected content EEOC Leaps into the Wellness Fray

In a complaint filed yesterday, the EEOC sued Orion Energy Systems Inc. The EEOC claims that Orion violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because it forced an employee to submit to medical exams and inquiries that were not job-related and consistent with business necessity as part of a wellness program that, according to the EEOC, was not voluntary. … More

protected content Mixed Results from Courts of Appeals on ERISA Preemption

In recent weeks, U.S. Courts of Appeals have provided mixed results when determining whether state laws were superseded (i.e., preempted) by ERISA. Several Circuit Courts of Appeals recently held that a number of state laws that impacted ERISA plans were not preempted by ERISA, while some courts held that other state laws were not. … More

ERIC Files Amicus Brief in U.S. Supreme Court on Retiree Health Vesting Case

Please find below a link to an amicus brief filed today with the U.S. Supreme Court by ERIC and ABC in the M & G Polymers v. Tackett case. The brief was prepared jointly by Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Proskauer Rose LLP. … More

ERIC and Epstein Becker Green Release Summer 2014 Edition of Benefits Litigation Update

Attached please find the latest edition of the Benefits Litigation Update, a joint project of ERIC and the law firm of Epstein Becker Green. In this Benefits Litigation Update, we are focusing on … More

protected content U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Retiree Health Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has announced that it will hear the case of M&G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett, which involves when retiree health benefits are considered to be vested. … More

protected content U.S. Supreme Court Issues Adverse Decision in U.S. v. Quality Stores

The U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision today in U.S. v. Quality Stores, Inc. The case involved whether severance payments made because of involuntary separation from employment are considered “wages” and therefore subject to the FICA payroll tax. … More

protected content U.S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in U.S. v. Quality Stores

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week on U.S. v. Quality Stores, Inc. The case involves whether severance payments made because of involuntary separation from employment are considered “wages” and therefore subject to the FICA payroll tax. … More

protected content Supreme Court Justice Temporarily Halts Enforcement of Contraceptive Mandate Against Nuns

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on December 31 issued an order temporarily blocking enforcement of the contraceptive mandate against a nonprofit religious group, ordering the federal government to respond by January 3 (Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged v. Sebelius). … More

ERIC Urges Supreme Court to Confirm that FICA Taxes Do Not Apply to Supplemental Unemployment Benefits

The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) on December 13 filed with the U.S. Supreme Court an amicus brief in the United States v. Quality Stores case, urging the Court to uphold an appeals court ruling that supplemental unemployment benefits … More

protected content IRS Provides Special Procedures for DOMA Refund Claims

The IRS issued Notice 2013-61, which provides special procedures for requesting refunds or adjustments for overpayments of FICA taxes and… More

protected content DOL Issues Technical Release on DOMA Issues

The Department of Labor (DOL) on September 18 released Technical Release 2013-04, which provides guidance to employee benefit plans on the definition of “spouse” and “marriage” under ERISA following the June decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor.… More

ERIC Argues that Court Should Not Rewrite Plan Documents

The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC), along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, on September 6 filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit an amicus brief in Osberg v. Foot Locker, Inc. The brief urged the Court to uphold the decision of the district court which dismissed the claims of plaintiffs seeking reformation of the plan and surcharge (effectively money damages) against a plan sponsor regarding the communication of their retirement plan amendment from a traditional defined benefit plan to a cash balance plan. … More

protected content ERIC and Epstein Becker Green Release Fall 2013 Edition of Benefits Litigation Update

We have released the latest edition of the Benefits Litigation Update, a joint project of ERIC and the law firm of Epstein Becker Green. … More

protected content Federal Court Awards Spousal Death Benefits to Same-Sex Spouse in Wake of DOMA Ruling

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in June that section three of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional with respect to the federal government’s ban on recognizing same sex marriages, a federal district court recently ruled that the same-sex spouse of a deceased profit-sharing plan participant is entitled to spousal death benefits under the terms of the plan and ERISA. … More

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Ohio District Court Ruling Hints at Challenges to Come Regarding State Laws Banning Same-Sex Marriages

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio on July 23 granted a temporary restraining order banning enforcement of Ohio’s ban on recognizing same-sex marriages performed in another state, Maryland (Obergefell et al v. Kasich et al). … More

protected content Coverage on U.S. Supreme Court Rulings on DOMA and Proposition 8

As you probably have heard, the U.S. Supreme Court on June 26 issued its long-awaited decisions on the constitutionality of same-sex marriages, ruling that section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause in the United States v. Windsor. … More

protected content Supreme Court Invalidates DOMA and Dismisses California Proposition 8 Appeal

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued its long-awaited decisions on the constitutionality of same-sex marriages. The Court’s holdings in these cases could have a significant impact on the manner in which employee benefit plans need to be operated. The Court heard two cases involving same-sex marriages – one involving state law and the other involving federal law.… More

ERIC President Scott Macey Comments on the U.S. Supreme Court’s Decisions on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8

Washington, D.C. -- ERIC President Scott Macey Comments on the U.S. Supreme Court’s Decisions on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8: “Today’s rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court could have a significant impact on the way employee benefit plans are administered. Companies will need to carefully evaluate their plans in light of these decisions. … More

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