Articles Tagged with Business Law

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Ok.  Well.  Probably not, but this might be a useful (maybe even fun) way to review the factors for determining what is and what is not a “plan” under ERISA.   

So, let’s give it a shot. 

First, the law:

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According to this article from Pensions & Investments, half of employers could not accurate indentify the fees charged to participants in their 401(k) plans.

As we’ve discussed in earlier posts, such as this one about 401(k) plans for small businesses, ERISA’s fiduciary provisions are expansive.  It is hard to imagine a responsible fiduciary who has satisfied his duties of prudence and loyalty, but cannot identify the fees charged to participants in the 401(k) he administers.

We’ll talk more about fiduciary duties in later posts, but the headline is clear for this post: 401(k) fees are opaque and you aren’t the only one who is confused.  The people in charge don’t understand either.

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The Chicago Tribune reports that a bill to protect current and prospective employees from requirements to provide their social media passwords to their employers has gone to Governor Quinn.

If this bill is signed into law, Illinois will join Maryland as the only two states with these sorts of protections in place.

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Employers regularly use criminal background checks and credit checks to narrow their list of applicants. High unemployment has vastly expanded the applicant pool and employers now have the luxury of selecting only the most qualified candidates.  The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) had been largely quiet on the legality of these somewhat invasive tests since 1990 but has now issued new guidance.



Yes.  The ability to do a background check on a job applicant has not been substantially limited.  What has been greatly changed is the employer’s use of information obtained in a background check.  Employers have been asked by the EEOC to no longer throw out an application because of a prior arrest or general conviction.

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The California State Teachers’ Retirement System (“CalSTRS”), America’s second largest pension fund, announced that it would vote its nearly six million shares against the retention of Wal-Mart’s board of directors. This decision comes in the wake of Wal-Mart’s ongoing Mexican bribery scandal.

This is an important story for pension governance and fiduciary responsibility.  Entirely too often, the discussion about pension investment is focused on inaction.  

CalSTRS has not fallen into this trap.  It has pursued legal action over alleged failures in corporate governance and now it will vote its against the board.  These are proactive steps made to protect the fund’s investment and its investors, the teachers of the State of California.

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