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Gary Shipman
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Losses Suffered By Employee Benefit Plans Ripe For Litigation, Study Shows

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Class action litigation involving losses suffered by employees through their employer sponsored benefit plans will increase in 2009, according to a report issued by a law firm that focuses on complex employment defense work.

Chicago based law firm Seyfarth Shaw issued a report that analyzed 2008 class action and collective action workplace filings, rulings and settlements in state and federal courts, filed under the Fair Labor Standards Act, The Employee Retirement Income Securities Act (ERISA) and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. The report found that, as a result of the economic downturn, workplace class action litigation increased in 2008, and with more workers being laid off in 2009, is expected to increase.

The new litigation is expected to focus on age discrimination and ERISA actions by reason of losses suffered by employees in their 401(k) plans. The financial stakes, according to the report, associated with ERISA class actions, is particularly high. "The present downturn in the economic climate is likely to fuel more lawsuits, and the financial risks in this type of employment litigation can be enormous," said J. Stephen Poor, chairman and managing partner of Seyfarth Shaw.

Shipman & Wright, LLP has actively assisted employees in workplace litigation involving employment discrimination and ERISA for year.