The Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, commonly called ERISA, is a federal law that establishes standards for protecting the retirement funds of millions of Americans who work in private industry. There is no requirement under ERISA that employers must provide a pension plan, but employers who do establish retirement plans -- a 401(k), for example -- must the meet the minimum standards under the law.
To settle a class action lawsuit against Wells Fargo, a deal has been proposed to divide $5.6 million among about 135 brokers. The suit was brought by two brokers who formerly worked at Wells Fargo Advisors LLC, and the case may be of interest to individuals and companies with complex employment agreements involving bonuses and other benefits.
Employers often go to great lengths to protect their company. To do this, they may develop strict workplace practices with which they ask employees to comply. If an employee violates a contract or the requirements set in an employee handbook, there may be grounds to take legal action against the employee.
Employment law is constantly changing, and one aspect of employment that has lately received increased attention is paid leave. The White House Council of Economic Advisers has reported that paid leave is offered to only 59 percent of employees in the United States, and the U.S. is the only developed country whose federal policy doesn't offer paid maternity leave.
In late August, an Indiana warehouse used to process Walmart merchandise was evacuated because of a toxic contamination, and one worker has brought a negligence claim against the mega-retailer. The lawsuit seeks class action status.
Serious allegations have been leveled in a class action lawsuit against a slew of major studios and digital animation companies. According to the suit, which was brought on behalf of a former effects artist at DreamWorks Animation, "some of the most recognizable names in the American entertainment and technology industries" conspired to establish "non-poaching" agreements that effectively deprived class members of millions in compensation.
Under the qui tam provisions in the federal False Claims Act (FCA), employees, corporations, and private or public interest organizations may sue a company that defrauds the federal government. The legal action is brought on behalf of the government and the whistleblower, and an individual who brings a qui tam claim may stand to receive a sizable reward.
Employers who fail to give proper notification of a mass layoff could be subject to penalties, including payment of wages the laid-off employees would have received after the required notification of the layoff. Individual workers whose employment has been inappropriately terminated in a mass layoff may bring a lawsuit against the employer on behalf of other workers who are similarly situated. This sort of class action can result not only in compensation for employees' lost wages, but also civil penalties against the employer.
While whistleblowers are protected under federal laws such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Dodd-Frank Act, some states -- Connecticut, for instance -- have laws that go further than federal law in protecting employees who report corporate wrongdoing. Now the Connecticut Supreme Court is in a position either to restrict or maintain the whistleblower protections that apply on the state level.