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Employee Benefits

Employee benefits present unique and complex challenges as organizations try to keep up with the regulatory landscape while simultaneously designing benefits and compensation strategies that allow them to attract, incentivize and retain employees.

Overview

Our Employee Benefits Practice Group handles a full spectrum of benefit law matters for a diverse mix of business clients on a nationwide basis. In keeping with the firm’s overall philosophy, we approach even the most technical and complex benefit law questions with an eye toward preventive strategies—minimizing the likelihood of liabilities associated with benefit claims, litigation and enforcement matters—and practical solutions.

We provide comprehensive legal advice, counseling and representation to plan sponsors, plan fiduciaries and benefit plans relating to:

  • Employee benefits issues arising in the design, administration, and operation of all benefit and compensation arrangements, including compliance with ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code; and
  • The defense of benefit, fiduciary and other claims relating to plan administration, and compliance with the terms of the plan and all applicable laws.

Some of the specific services we offer include:

  • Providing representation for a wide range of private, public and not-for-profit employers in virtually all aspects of tax-qualified defined contribution plans and defined benefit pension plans (including cash balance and other hybrid pension plan formulas);
  • Advising clients regarding all types of executive compensation arrangements;
  • Defending employers, plan sponsors, corporate officers and directors and employee benefit plans in examinations, summons proceedings, and adversary proceedings and appeals initiated under internal agency procedures by federal or state agencies and courts of specialized jurisdiction;
  • Counseling on the employee benefits issues arising in corporate transactions and workforce reorganizations, as well as the range of issues involved in multiemployer pension and welfare plan liabilities;
  • Advising shareholders, public and private/family-held corporations, bank holding corporations, institutional and individual trustees, officers, directors, and other parties and investors (i.e., private equity groups) on designing, implementing and using ESOPs in various types of transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, estate and succession planning, hostile takeover bids, tender offers, shareholder liquidity/Section 1042 of the Internal Revenue Code tax-deferred transactions, stock re-purchases by issuers, redemptions and recapitalizations, management and leveraged buyouts, and the use of ESOPs as an acquisition strategy.

In addition, our experienced benefits litigators represent employers, plans, insurers, plan administrators, institutional and individual trustees, officers and directors, selling shareholders and third-party administrators in ERISA and related benefits litigation in virtually all 50 states. This litigation involves both mainstream ERISA litigation as well as complex benefits litigation and class actions.

The Benefits Group also works closely with the firm's Privacy, e-Communication and Data Security Practice Group on compliance with the HIPAA/HITECH Privacy and Security regulations with regard to group health plans and health care providers, as well as with our Disability, Leave and Health Management Practice Group with respect to benefits-related considerations for Wellness Programs in the workplace.

Health Care Reform Team

Our Employee Benefits Practice Group includes a Health Care Reform team focusing on compliance with federal health care reform. Our team members are Kathleen Barrow, Kelvin Berens, Lisa deFilippis, Joseph Lazzarotti, Randy Limbeck, Joy Napier-JoyceMelissa Ostrower, Eric Simon and Monique Warren.

The Health Care Reform team follows federal health care reform legislative developments and legal decisions and monitors regulatory and other guidance. We present numerous seminars and webinars for employers on the impacts of federal health care reform and practical considerations and strategies for compliance.

The Team

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Archived

Watch Now

Preparing for 2018: The New ERISA Regulations for Disability Claims and Appeals

April 27, 2017 - 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM EST
Credits: CLE - Pending*, HRCI - Pending, SHRM - Pending
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Archived

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Withdrawal Liability: The Ticking Time Bomb Of Participating In Multiemployer Pension Plans

April 13, 2017 - 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM EST
Credits: CLE - Pending*, HRCI - Pending, SHRM - Pending
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Archived

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Designer Defenses: What You Can Do Today to Prevent Benefits Litigation Tomorrow

February 9, 2017 - 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM EST
Credits: CLE - Pending*, HRCI - Pending, SHRM - Pending
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April 27, 2017

45 Ways in 100 Days: The Projected Impact of the Trump Administration on Today’s Workplace

April 27, 2017

April 29, 2017, marks the 100th day of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States. He has proven he is not a traditional conservative Republican, and many in the business community are still wondering about the Trump Administration’s labor and employment policy positions. Even as significant changes in federal policies are... Read More

March 22, 2017

Senate HELP Committee Holds Confirmation Hearing for Nominee Acosta to Head Labor Department

March 22, 2017

The Senate Health, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee on March 22, 2017, held confirmation hearings on the nomination of R. Alexander Acosta, President Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of Labor. Acosta was introduced by Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, both of whom have known Acosta for years. Rubio described Acosta as... Read More

February 6, 2017

President Trump Orders Review of Labor Department Fiduciary Rule and Addresses Financial Industry in Latest Actions

February 6, 2017

President Donald Trump has taken actions aimed at alleviating some of the regulatory burdens on the financial services industry. Through a Presidential Memorandum, issued on February 3, 2017, he ordered the Department of Labor to “examine the Fiduciary Duty Rule to determine whether it may adversely affect the ability of Americans... Read More

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April 24, 2017
SHRM

Keith Dropkin Authors "Be Wary of Designs to Avoid Employment Taxes through Wellness Plan Benefits"

April 24, 2017

Keith Dropkin authors "Be Wary of Designs to Avoid Employment Taxes through Wellness Plan Benefits," published by SHRM. Subscription may be required to view article   Read More

March 7, 2017
Law 360

Joy Napier-Joyce Comments on The Affordable Care Act Repeal Proposal

March 7, 2017

Joy Napier-Joyce comments on the new ACA repeal proposal details, including scrapping the requirement to provide health coverage to employees or face penalties in "3 Employer Takeaways From The ACA Repeal Proposal," published by Law360. Subscription may be required to view article Read More

March 1, 2017
Employee Benefit News

Joy Napier-Joyce Comments on the DOL's Announcement to Delay Fiduciary Rule

March 1, 2017

Joy Napier-Joyce comments on the DOL's announcement proposing to delay the fiduciary rule, after President Donald Trump asked the department to examine the rule to determine if it would have an adverse effect on the ability of workers to gain access to retirement information and financial advice in "What does the fiduciary... Read More

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See AllBlogs

The First Dinosaur Has Died
April 21, 2017

This is another article in our series which has focused on the deterioration and downward spiral of the multi-employer defined benefit pension fund. Read More

Be Wary of Designs to Avoid Employment Taxes through Wellness Plan Benefits
April 18, 2017

We are aware that employers are being marketed various types of benefit arrangements designed to reduce the employer’s tax obligations by using a combination of wellness programs, voluntary benefits, and cafeteria plans. Read More

DOL Continues Investigating Defined Benefit Plans Regarding Procedures for Locating Participants and Paying Benefits at Mandatory Retirement Age
April 17, 2017

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) publicized last year its stepped up enforcement efforts inquiring about procedures used by larger defined benefit plans for locating, and then beginning payment of benefits to, terminated vested participants who have reached the age when the plan mandates benefits must begin. Read More