10th Circ. Refuses to Compel Individual Arbitration of ESOP Suit

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals has rejected an appeal from Envision Management Holding and employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) trustee Argent Trust Co., seeking to compel arbitration of an Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) lawsuit. The court found that an agreement in the ESOP plan documents directly contradicted plan participants’ remedies under ERISA, which triggered the effective Read More

Handling Relationships in the Workplace

On average, Americans spend about one-third of their lives at work, so both romantic and platonic relationships are bound to occur. According to a recent Society for Human Resource Management survey, 27% of U.S. workers are in a workplace romance, and about 41% know someone in a workplace romance. Most workers are comfortable with workplace romances, although only about 25% say they would be open to them. Some Read More

White House Announces Intention to End COVID-19 National Emergency and Public Health Emergency Declarations in May

The Trump administration declared both a COVID-19 national emergency and a public health emergency (PHE) in 2020. The national emergency is set to expire on March 1, 2023, and the PHE is set to expire on April 11, 2023. The Biden administration now has issued a statement of administrative policy stating its intention to extend both emergencies and end them on May 11, 2023. Its announcement is consistent with its Read More

Employer Response to the FTC Proposal to Ban Noncompete Agreements

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently proposed a rule prohibiting almost all noncompete agreements between employers and employees. Under the FTC’s proposed rule, employers could not enter new noncompete agreements with employees. They would have to rescind existing noncompete agreements by informing employees that they are no longer in effect. The changes would impact all industries and about 30 million Read More

Balancing Religious Exemption Requests and Company Vaccination Requirements

Companies nationwide continue to struggle with employees who request religious exemptions to company vaccination requirements, whether they are COVID-19 vaccines or others. As a result, some companies are facing lawsuits for terminating employees who refuse to be vaccinated. EEOC Files Suits Against CHOA In December, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit against Children’s Read More

2nd Circ. Panel Considers ERISA Arbitration Request in Light of Viking River

A U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit panel recently heard oral arguments over whether a proposed class action concerning alleged overcharges to an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) should go to individual arbitration. ESOP plan trustee Argent Trust Co., employer Strategic Financial Solutions, and other executives and financial services companies appealed after a federal district court judge denied their Read More

Shifts Ahead in EEOC Enforcement

Employers are likely to see shifts in U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforcement as its budget increases, leadership changes hands, and enforcement priorities change. Overall, the EEOC continues to prioritize systemic cases with broad impact, such as those that affect how a law influences a particular community or industry. Changes in Enforcement Budget Levels The enforcement budget for the Read More

DOL Provides Snapshot of ERISA Enforcement Statistics for Fiscal Year 2022

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)'s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has released a fact sheet concerning its ERISA enforcement results for FY 2022. EBSA oversees 747,000 retirement plans, 2.5 million health plans, and 673,000 other welfare benefit plans, covering more than 152 million workers, retirees, and dependents. During FY 2022, EBSA recovered over $1.4 billion for plans, participants, and Read More

States Sue to Block DOL’s Rule Allowing Fiduciaries to Consider ESG Factors in Choosing Investments

Twenty-five states have filed to block the implementation of a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) rule that allows fiduciaries to consider environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors in choosing retirement investments. The states argue that the DOL rule conflicts with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which requires fiduciaries to consider financial benefits first, not nonfinancial and Read More

Federal Agencies Propose Recission of ACA Moral Exemption Rule

Three federal agencies - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Treasury Department, and the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) – jointly published proposed rules that would rescind the “moral exemption rule” concerning Affordable Care Act (ACA) coverage of contraception. In 2018, the Trump administration enacted the policy, and the U.S. Supreme Court Read More