ERISA Attorney

Building a competent, stable, and flexible workforce for your business requires constant attention to a variety of laws—both state and federal, including the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Our experienced ERISA attorneys understand how rapidly evolving market conditions and an evolving employee pool can impact the type of benefits a business offers to attract and retain talent.

In the aftermath of a prolonged pandemic, employee expectations, along with changing demographics and a changing marketplace, make an intentional approach to employee benefits a must for employee retention and future growth. With all these factors in motion, thoughtfully designed employee benefit programs can help fulfil employee expectations and retain great talent.

ERISA Attorney

At Beckemeier LeMoine Law, our client-centered business and ERISA attorneys offer business clients a full range of expertise covering all the factors that go into developing a valuable employee benefit platform to help grow your business, build and retain competent leadership and staff, and keep your clientele engaged and satisfied.

Our ERISA attorneys have a depth of knowledge about employee benefits law – executive compensation, administration of employee benefits, plan termination procedures, and health and welfare plans. We are available to work with your human resources, in-house counsel, and accounting departments to ensure full implementation of ERISA and fair distribution of other employee benefits.

What is ERISA?

In 1974, Congress passed the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, commonly known as ERISA, which regulates private employer employee benefit plans. Although ERISA does not require an employer to have a benefits plan, once one is established, the plan must comply with ERISA eligibility, vesting, disclosure, and funding rules.

ERISA also enumerates the responsibilities for trustees and other individuals who manage and administer employee benefits plans, with significant penalties for noncompliance. ERISA offers employers ways to establish valuable employee retirement programs and offers employees the right to disclosure and the right to sue for noncompliance, with statutory attorney’s fees and costs, if successful.

What is an ERISA Employee Benefits plan?

A well-conceived employee benefits plan can attract and retain talent for your business. An ERISA employee benefit plan includes:

  • 401(k) plan
  • Other retirement accounts and investments
  • Employee stock ownership plans
  • Profit-sharing plans
  • Disability plans
  • Post-retirement healthcare plans
  • Health and welfare plans
  • Severance plans
  • Top-hat executive compensation plans

The ERISA Issues We Service

When conceiving or revising an ERISA plan, the attorneys at Beckemeier LeMoine Law can guide your decision-making and resource allocation, providing cost-effective and retention-effective benefits to attract and retain talent. ERISA issues are varied and might include:

  • Cafeteria (Section 125) plans
  • Davis-Bacon plans
  • Defined benefit pension plans
  • ERISA litigation
  • ESOPs
  • Group medical and health plans (including ACA, HIPAA and COBRA)
  • Multiemployer (Taft-Hartley) plans
  • Profit-sharing and 401(k) plans
  • Prototype and other preapproved plans
  • Qualified and nonqualified deferred compensation programs (including §409A and §280G compliance)
  • Qualified domestic relations orders
  • Qualified medical child support orders
  • Voluntary employees’ beneficiary associations (VEBAs)
  • Affordable Care Act reporting and penalties

What does an ERISA Attorney do?

Our business law attorneys at Beckemeier LeMoine Law service corporate clients from Missouri and across the nation, helping them structure and administer employee benefit plans that balance cost with benefits. Here’s a sampling of what we can do for your business:

  • Assist in all aspects of establishing, operating, merging, and terminating benefit plans and executive compensation arrangements in full compliance with ERISA and other laws
  • Work with sponsors of employee benefit plans and executive compensation programs so that they are fully apprised of all applicable labor and securities law and regulations
  • Develop transactional systems to ensure full compliance with ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code, and all applicable state and federal labor laws
  • Direct corporate employers to fulfillment of the fiduciary responsibilities required by ERISA and to avoid prohibited activities and practices
  • Assist businesses in addressing employee benefits issues that arise in mergers, acquisitions, and other business transactions and restructuring

To ensure continued compliance with all of the applicable ERISA and state and federal laws, Beckemeier LeMoine Law can also work with your executive team to develop a fiduciary audit methodology to periodically review operation of your employee benefits plans.

ERISA Disputes

The ERISA lawyers at Beckemeier LeMoine Law are also available to represent your business before the U.S. Department of Labor, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC) in audits, examinations, and settlement negotiations. If necessary, we will also defend your company in disputes arising from termination or layoffs as these acts affect ERISA covered benefits.

An area of particular contention is the responsibility that ERISA places on fiduciaries to monitor plan investment options. In a recent U.S. Supreme Court case, Hughes v. Nw. Univ., 142 S.Ct. 737 (2022), a unanimous court held that plan fiduciaries must conduct their own evaluation to determine which investments may be prudently included in the plan’s menu of options. Liability for offering imprudent investment options is not mitigated by the fact that some of the options were prudent, or that participants in the plan could direct the investment of their own accounts to avoid such investments.

Working for our Client’s ERISA Benefits

When disputes arise, Beckemeier LeMoine Law will defend you and your business against claims of breach of fiduciary duty and alleged wrongful denial of employee benefits. Our experienced ERISA law attorneys are available to represent your business in disputes involving fully insured or self-insured welfare plans, pension plans, and plan administrators.

Our ERISA lawyers utilize a range of methods to resolve any claims: mediation, negotiation of consent decrees, defense of class actions, and advocating for corporate clients in litigation and post-litigation settings.

If it has to do with ERISA, we can help. Whether developing, reviewing, or revising an ERISA employee benefit plan, the attorneys at Beckemeier LeMoine Law are here to educate and guide you through this complex process. We have the tools and experience to devise and implement ERISA plans that attract and retain the talent you need to grow your business.

Contact Us

Are you ready to discuss your unique corporate ERISA needs? At Beckemeier LeMoine Law, we have a rich history of experience providing trusted counsel to help our clients solve their legal problems. If you need legal assistance, contact us online or call 314-965-2277.


The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is a complex federal statute designed to ensure that employees receive the benefits that have been promised to them and ensure that employees are provided timely and accurate information regarding their plan benefits.

The expansive legislative purpose coupled with ERISA’s complex regulations and procedures covering a wide variety of employee benefit plans, Compliance raises many questions among employers and plan administrators.  Among the most frequently asked questions are:

  • Is our Plan covered by ERISA?
  • What rights do participants have under ERISA?
  • What are my obligations as a plan sponsor/plan administrator?

Although these questions seem simple, the answers to them often are not. An employer should consult with the experienced ERISA attorneys at Beckemeier LeMoine Law for knowledgeable guidance in the establishment and administration of ERISA-governed employee benefits plans.

ERISA protects the rights of employees in benefit plans established by their private sector employers.  Originally enacted to prevent pension plan abuses, ERISA covers a wide range of employee benefit plans including, but not limited to 401(k) retirement plans, health insurance plans, life insurance, severance benefits, disability insurance, and a variety of other welfare benefit plans.  ERISA governs both large and small employer plans.

ERISA requires plans to provide participants information regarding their benefits under the plan, including the following details:

  • Details regarding plan eligibility and any applicable waiting periods or exclusions from eligibility
  • A summary of the benefits provided under the plan
  • Details regarding who administers the plan and makes plan decision and how the plan is funded;
  • The procedure for claiming benefits under the Plan; and
  • The rights and remedies that plan participants have in the event their employer violates its ERISA obligations.

However, not all benefit plans are covered by the statute.  ERISA does not govern plans covering government and religious institution employees, voluntary employer insurance plans funded through payroll deductions, or individual retirement accounts and annuities.

In addition to the disclosure to participants, ERISA provides significant protection to plan participants and their beneficiaries, setting out in detail how private sector employers are to manage and fund these plans.  Notably, ERISA guarantees certain pension benefits even if the private sector employer declares bankruptcy and seeks the protection of federal bankruptcy laws.

ERISA governs two types of employee benefits: welfare benefit plans and pension benefit plans.  Welfare benefit plans are group benefit plans providing any of a variety of benefits, including (i) medical care or benefits, (ii) disability benefits, (iii) accident benefits, (iv) life insurance, (v) unemployment or vacation benefits (if funded), (vi) apprenticeship or other training programs, (vii) day care or dependent care benefits, (viii) scholarship funds, (ix) prepaid legal services, or (x) certain benefits provided through contribution to a multiemployer benefit fund associated with a labor union.

Pension benefit plans include both defined contribution pension and defined benefit pension plans.  A defined contribution plan is a retirement plan with contributions made by the employer (profit sharing), the employee (401(k)), or both in which the benefit is based upon the participant’s account balance.  In such plans the participant receives a benefit equal to the contribution plus (or minus) the earnings (and losses) of the account.  Defined contribution plan benefits are not guaranteed or insured.  A defined benefit plan provides a participant a particular, set, monthly benefit upon retirement.  There are two ways that this promised monthly benefit can be stated.  Generally, the defined benefit is either a set amount per year of service or a percentage of the participants final salary multiplied by the number of years of service.  In e defined benefit plan the employer assumes the risk that plan investments will not grow as projected and additional contributions will be required in order to pay the promised benefit.  Unlike a defined contribution plan, benefits under a defined benefit plan are insured by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) and will by paid if the plan and employer are unable to pay promised benefits.

The type of employer sponsoring an employee benefit plan will impact the plan’s coverage under ERISA.  Plans sponsored by private sector employers are subject to ERISA regulation.  Plans sponsored by governmental entities and religiously based institutions generally are not covered under ERISA statute.  However, they may be afforded protection under other state and federal laws.

Plan sponsors and administrators are subject to a variety of obligations in complying with ERISA and the tax laws governing employee benefits plans.  These include timely and accurate disclosure of plan terms and changes as well as certain annual (or more frequent) statements to participants and filings with the IRS and Department of Labor.  In addition, they must administer the plan in accordance with its written terms and the law, including calculation of plan contributions and timely deposit of such contributions.  In administering the plan and managing assets of the plan, administrators owe participants certain fiduciary duties, including the duty to prudently manage plan investments and assets.  The failure of a plan sponsor or administrator to comply with its obligations can result in significant legal liability, including the potential loss of tax benefits provided under the plan.  As such, employers and plan administrators should consult experienced ERISA counsel in establishing and administering their employee benefit plans.

Call 314-965-2277 now or contact us online to schedule a consultation with one of our highly skilled attorneys today.