How secure are my pension payments?

A common concern posed by pension participants is how secure those payments will be in the future. Given the economic turmoil in the past few years, it is certainly a worthwhile question. The good news is that the vast majority of retirement benefits are more secure than you might think. As a Dallas employment attorney experienced …

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401k Plan Fees – What Are They and Do They Matter?

Employers operate 401k plans at a cost. Like other labor expenses (hiring process, salary, vacation pay, etc.) employers have to pay for compliance with labor and employment laws. Benefit plans are somewhat unique. Under ERISA employers can shift the cost of plan administration from the plan sponsor to plan beneficiaries. 401k plan fees often are …

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What is ERISA and why should employees care?

ERISA, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, is a federal regulatory regime that governs private employer retirement, health care benefits and certain other employee benefit plans. It is a massive web of legislation, Department of Labor regulations and IRS regulations. ERISA also borrows from and incorporates securities regulations on investments (such as in 401k plans). ERISA …

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Should You Take the Lump Sum or the Annuity Payments from Your Pension?

This highly important question tends to receive significantly less attention in today’s economy than it should. Many people see a lump sum as a way to either pay down debts or seed stock gains. This attitude is further fueled by financial advisors who need to bring in assets, like your pension lump sum and 401k, …

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Fifth Circuit rules lactation discrimination is illegal sex discrimination

Last week the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in EEOC v. Houston Funding II, Ltd. that discriminating against employees on the basis of the need to express breast milk following the birth of a child violated Title VII’s prohibition on sex-based discrimination. The district court ruled firing based on lactation and breast pumping was …

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Can my employer monitor my emails? Phone calls? Texts? Computer activity? Website history?

Generally yes. In Fort Worth and Dallas your employer pays for your time and pays for the resources you use at the office (that they own). As a result, employment laws afford private employers wide latitude in what they can record, monitor, read, copy, etc. That said, employers often do have valid reasons. There are very …

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Kitchen Nightmares Season Finale and Tipped Employees

Last night Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares ended its season with a visit to the Arizona restaurant Amy’s Baking Company. For the first time, he walked away from the restaurant without making any changes or improvements to the restaurant. (The owners seemed to also think this was for the best.) The restaurant suffered criticism online pointed at the …

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Can I sue my employer for defamation?

Under Texas law, employment defamation occurs when your employer tells other people false information regarding your employment. Often this happens when an employer terminates an employee and tells future potential employers false reasons for termination. Employers can disclose negative information about an employee (within limits) if the information is true. Defamation occurs when the information is false. …

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Can I use my 401k to buy a business, franchise, house, investment property, etc.?

There are many retirement asset-funded investment and business schemes that run from taking loans to “rollover as business startup” (ROBS) plans. They have been around for many years and typically they are generally a bad idea. I discourage most would-be investors due to the legal and financial liability involved. I have had people come to …

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401k Fee Disclosure: What Does It All Mean?

401k fee disclosure was a project in the works for many years, going back to the mid-2000s. Eventually the Department of Labor promised Congress it would create regulations requiring plans to disclosure fees charged by service providers. The purposes are two-fold. First, disclosures help plan administrators figure costs so they can assess whether fees are …

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