Legal Memorandum: Failure to Pay Retirement Benefits

Issue: What recourse does an employee have in a matter where there is a failure to pay retirement benefits?

Area of Law: Employee Law
Keywords: Retirement benefits; Failure to pay
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(3); ERISA § 502(a)(1)(B), 29 U.S.C. § 1132 (a)(1)(B); 29 U.S.C. § 501; 29 U.S.C. § 501(a)
Date: 10/01/2007

An employee may bring such a cause of action to enforce his or her rights under ERISA and the Retirement Plan pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(3).

The failure to pay benefits promptly and fully is a violation of ERISA § 502(a)(1)(B), 29 U.S.C. § 1132 (a)(1)(B), which further authorizes a civil action to recover benefits due under the terms of a plan and to otherwise enforce employee’s rights under the terms of the plan.

The failure to pay to an employee the benefits owed to him or her pursuant to the plan also violates Title 5 of the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA), 29 U.S.C. § 501, which provides:

The officers, agents, shop stewards, and other representatives of a labor organization occupy positions of trust in relation to such organization and its members as a group.  It is, therefore, the duty of such person, taking into account the special problems and functions of a labor organization, to hold its money and property solely for the benefit of the organization and its members and to manage, invest, and expend the same in accordance with its constitution and bylaws and any resolutions of the governing bodies adopted thereunder, to refrain from dealing with such organization as an adverse party or in behalf of an adverse party in any matter connected with his duties and from holding or acquiring any pecuniary or personal interest which conflicts with the interests of such organization, and to account to the organization for any […]

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