ERISA and Global Benefits

Voluntary Severance Plans: Case on Point
For employers wanting to thin their workforces, voluntary severance plans (VSPs) have the potential to create a win-win dynamic.
Stock Award Web Process Works: Non-compete Enforced
As a general matter, employers “win” when they seek to enforce stock plan terms that have been fairly disclosed -- and accepted -- by award recipients. ADP recently had such a victory, through a 3rd Circuit decision granting a preliminary injunction against two former employees who had joined a competitor in violation of restrictive covenants set forth in their stock awards.
Feel The Burn? Equity Compensation Plan Amendment to Increase Withholding is Not a Material Amendment
Many NASDAQ or NYSE listed companies looking for avenues to address depleted share reserves under equity incentive plans without having to seek shareholder approval have a new option
2017: New Year, New Retirement Requirements for California Employers
Under a recently approved law, some California employers in the private sector will have to offer an estimated 7,000,000 employees an automatic retirement savings arrangement that sends payroll deductions to a state retirement program, if they do not otherwise offer a retirement savings plan or individual retirement account (IRA). In other words, eligible employers can avoid the program by adopting a tax-qualified retirement plan.
$16M Awarded to Optionees due to Flawed Cash-out in Spin/Merger
In business transactions, the parties generally address the target company's stock awards in a manner that honors the contractual rights of employees. Costly lessons come, however, when deal terms run afoul of the change-in-control provisions within the target's stock award plan and/or award agreements.
Assessing ERISA Risks from ESOPs – 5th Circuit Clobbers Founder of Closely-Held Company
When the owner of a closely-held company sells stock to an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), there are numerous valuation, fiduciary, and conflict of interest issues that could explode into ERISA liability. Imagine having ESOP participants recover damages equal to 33% of the amount the ESOP paid for the founder’s shares. The 5th Circuit recently upheld such an award. Its decision provides warning signs for companies with ESOPs and owners who sell shares to ESOPs – and for those performing diligence before they buy or invest in companies that sponsor ESOPs.
If a public company’s 2016 proxy statement will include a proposal for action on a new or amended stock plan, there are several improvements to consider including. Several involve procedures by which to minimize the risk of litigation by award holders. Others involve assuring the ability to make awards that qualify for an exemption from Code Section 162(m)’s limitations. Note that action every five years is usually required, even if a plan has a ten-year term.
Equity Aids the Vigilant: The Supreme Court's Montanile Decision And Its Lessons for ERISA Plans' Efforts To Recover Medical Payments
After the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion in Board of Trustees of the National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan holding that ERISA prohibits suits by benefits plans where the beneficiary spent the settlement money on nontraceable items.
Section 409A Corrections to Employment Agreements - Time for an Ounce of Protection in 2015
With surprising frequency, employers encounter 409A problems due to conditions timing severance pay to an employee's execution of a claims release. Other common sources for 409A problems arise from allowing employees to choose between receiving their severance in lump sums or installments, or receiving cash-outs of employer-paid COBRA coverage.
The DOL’s Worker Misclassification Memo, and Benefit Plan Diligence
Much will soon be written about the Worker Misclassification Memo that was issued on July 15th by the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. There are serious employee benefit implications that employers may face if workers are misclassified either as independent contractors (rather than as employees) or as exempt employees (rather than hourly, who are eligible for overtime and other protections).
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