U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down NCAA Rules Restricting Education-Related Compensation and Benefits for College Athletes

On June 21, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously upheld a Ninth Circuit ruling that the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) rules limiting athletes’ education-related compensation and benefits violate U.S. antitrust laws. In Alston v. NCAA, the high court resolved a circuit split on whether the NCAA rules limiting education-related benefits to student athletes was in violation of the Sherman Read More

Solving a Circuit Split? Supreme Court to Hear Fiduciary Breach Excessive Fee Case

On July 2, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in Hughes v. Northwestern University to address the split among several circuit courts on the pleading standard that applies to breach of fiduciary duty claims under ERISA. The issue coming before the eight Supreme Court justices this fall (Justice Amy Coney Barrett recused herself from the case) is this: Whether allegations that a defined-contribution Read More

Lyft Drivers Seek to Untether Cases in California Worker Misclassification Actions

A California state judge has been asked to allow a Lyft driver’s worker misclassification lawsuit against the rideshare company to proceed separately from similar litigation being pursued by the California Labor Commissioner under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA).  Lyft driver Brandon Olson filed suit against the company in 2018, alleging that Lyft misclassified him and other drivers as independent Read More

Court Rejects Plan Asset Claims Against 401(k) Plan Record Keeper That Shared Data for Marketing Purposes

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas recently dismissed breach of fiduciary and other claims against Shell Oil Company retirement plan record keeper Fidelity Investments in Harmon v. Shell Oil, where 401(k) participants claimed that Fidelity shared participant data with its affiliates for marketing purposes in violation of ERISA. The class action suit alleged that Fidelity breached its Read More

IRS Proffers Guidance on COBRA Premium Subsidy

On May 18, 2021, the IRS issued Notice 2021-31 that provides guidance for employers, plan administrators, and health insurers regarding the tax credit available to them under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) for providing continuation health coverage to certain individuals under COBRA. Under ARPA, a 100% COBRA premium subsidy and other COBRA benefits are available to qualifying assistance eligible Read More

Greater Price Transparency/Advanced Explanation of Benefits Requirements Coming Soon!

Passed in December 2020, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, (CAA) included provisions that address group health plan price transparency provisions, reporting, disclosure, and other patient protections. The price transparency rules are slated to become effective on January 1, 2022, so employers should be working with their carriers or TPAs on compliance efforts soon. Advance EOB Requirements The CAA requires Read More

Asset or Stock Purchase: Form of Transaction and the Impact to Employee Benefit Plans

Mergers, acquisitions, consolidations, or other reorganizations of a company can have a profound effect on employee benefit plans. For the purpose of this post, we’ll examine two common types of corporate transactions and the issues companies need to consider: Stock purchase – The buyer purchases all the stock of a company, and the seller does not retain any employees or benefit plans. Asset purchase – The Read More

Proposed SECURE Act 2.0 Offers Tax Breaks for Retirement Plan Participants and Plan Sponsors

On May 5, 2021, the House Ways and Means Committee voted unanimously to advance new retirement savings legislation to the House for approval. The Securing a Strong Retirement Act - dubbed “SECURE Act 2.0” - would enable millions more workers to build savings through employer-provided retirement plans while lowering costs for employers. Plan Participant Benefits Raises the Saver’s Credit. The Saver’s Credit Read More

EEOC Updates Vaccine Program Guidance Once Again

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has updated its What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws web page once again with more FAQs about COVID-19 vaccinations for employees.  The new FAQs address mandatory vaccination policies, vaccination incentive programs, and confidentiality requirements. These key updates include the following: Federal EEO Read More

NQDC Plans Aim to Mitigate Risk of Key Employee Early Retirement

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a number of changes to the American workforce, including shifts in how work actually gets done - or doesn’t get done. According to government data, the pandemic has accelerated the rate at which Americans are retiring, with a reported 2.7 million Americans over the age of 55 considering retirement years earlier than they had imagined. Thanks to soaring stock market and real Read More