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The Department of Labor's role in protecting employee benefits

The Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration may be able to assist people in California who feel they have not been paid what they are owed from their health plans, retirement plans or other welfare benefit plans including disability insurance. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act protects people in this situation, and in fiscal year 2017, more than $1.1 billion was recovered.

More than half of the 1,707 civil investigations closed by EBSA in that time recovered money for a total of $682.3 million. Around half of that amount was related to defined benefit plans with terminated vested participants.

Informal complaint resolutions led to the recovery of another $418.7 million. More than 100 people, including service providers, corporate officers and plan officials, were indicted for employee benefit plan-related crimes. Nearly $28 million associated with 586 plans was also distributed to people after plan termination.

People who feel their employers have denied them their benefits in some way might want to talk to an attorney about the situation. Even if an employee's initial plan is to try to resolve the issue in the workplace, consulting an attorney can help employees understand their rights and develop a strategy for proceeding. If the employer is not responsive to the employee's complaints, the employee might then want to speak to the attorney about what the next steps should be. Typical problems that might arise could deal with employee pensions as well as issues such as unpaid overtime or other wage-related issues. Employees who feel they are facing workplace retaliation as a result of reporting or challenging an employer's conduct might also want to speak to an attorney.

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