EMPLOYEE BENEFITS & ERISA

Every employer wants to attract and retain the best employees and to make sure our investments in our employees are the right ones. And while the legal and regulatory challenges for employers are many and continuously changing, how you handle employee benefits can make a tremendous difference in your business.

Supporting Employers 360º x 365

You face enormous challenges every day when it comes to compensation and benefits. The seemingly endless complex mix of laws governing compensation and benefits can result in serious consequences if they're misunderstood. That’s why we work closely with your in-house legal and HR teams, accountants, actuaries and others to provide the tailored support you need.

A Comprehensive and Flexible Approach to Employee Compensation and Benefits

Because your benefit and incentive plans play such a critically important role in your business, our attorneys can work with you to design, establish, operate and terminate the full range of compensation and benefit plans and programs. We can also help you with the many routine administrative tasks of maintaining these plans, including all document preparation, reporting and compliance and much more. Further, because flexibility is the key to providing innovative compensation structures, we help you design and implement today’s most flexible and innovative compensation planning techniques. 

Benefit Funding and Investment

An important component of our practice is helping you fulfill your responsibilities related to investing plan assets. We assist plan sponsors in developing investment policies, reviewing and negotiating investment management agreements and direct investment. We also work with financial institutions to design products and services for their benefit plan clients.

Tax: One of the Most Important Considerations

Tax considerations are part of nearly every plan and every transaction. We can counsel you regarding the complex tax rules and other legal considerations that are involved with employment and compensation agreements and incentive plans.

Employee Benefits and Union Matters

We can provide you with counsel regarding all of the labor, ERISA and employee benefits issues associated with unionized employees and collective bargaining agreements, including pension plan withdrawal liability, severance and shutdown benefits, and options for controlling active employee and retiree health care costs. We spend substantial time advising on collective bargaining agreement terms relating to “contracting out. 

Managing Change

We can advise you on the myriad employee pension and welfare benefit plan issues involved in mergers, acquisitions and initial public offerings (IPOs). We assist in conducting due diligence and advise you on optimal strategies for plan mergers, spin-offs, terminations, distributions, transition planning and employee relations issues.

Wage Payment Processes that Work

When it comes to wage compliance, Buchanan attorneys can help your wage payment practices comply with the applicable state and federal laws, including wage and hour and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) compliance, those concerning overtime pay, payroll deductions, and the timely payment of wages to terminated employees. We evaluate employee classifications and pay practices and draft policies to help you implement proper pay procedures and avoid violations. 

ERISA Title I and Title IV Compliance

Our attorneys have a keen understanding of Title I of ERISA. Ongoing plan administration and plan investments are a few of the issues we deal with every day. We represent clients in administrative and enforcement proceedings involving the U.S. Department of Labor, and we pursue or defend actions involving claims for benefits or allegations of breaches of fiduciary duty. We can also assist you with matters involving the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation under ERISA Title IV. To complement our corporate benefits practice, our lawyers advise clients on individual retirement account matters and the growing role of qualified and nonqualified retirement plans in estate planning, including the taxation of distributions from retirement plans.

ERISA Litigation

Effective ERISA litigation requires a thorough understanding of a complicated statute coupled with top-notch litigation skills. Our ERISA practice, which is one of the largest in the country, provides both. We combine our comprehensive ERISA regulatory practice with our outstanding labor law and litigation practice to provide a deep ERISA litigation bench, which has handled cases in a wide array of federal courts and arbitration proceedings. And some of our attorneys have served as expert witnesses. We’ve represented employers, fiduciaries, service providers and multiemployer trust funds in a broad range disputes, including many that arose in the context of collective bargaining, such as claims concerning fiduciary status, compliance with fiduciary duties, misrepresentations and plan and SPD conflicts.

Defending Employment-Related Class and Collective Action Litigation

Class action litigation allows employees to raise the stakes in employment-related disputes. Our attorneys defend employment-related class actions, including FLSA collective actions, systemic employment discrimination claims and ERISA class actions. We also have experience representing clients in litigation involving claims for pension contributions under ERISA and withdrawal liability under the MPPAA.