ERISA and Pension Plans


Welcome to LawShelf’s video-course on the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, better known as ERISA. This course focuses on the ERISA rules governing retirement accounts, welfare plans and other employee benefits. We will look at the employer’s responsibilities under ERISA and the nuts and bolts of ensuring the compliance of qualified plans with federal regulation.

Although focusing on a niche area, this is an introductory level course and requires no previous legal background.

Will start the course with a discussion of ERISA’s history and purpose as well as an overview of relevant terminology. We’ll also focus on the comprehensive statute’s structure and breadth of its application. Module one also looks at responsibilities of employers and plan administrators under ERISA.

Module two focuses on qualified retirement plans. We’ll distinguish between defined-benefit plans and defined contribution plans. We’ll discuss the rules of and limiting participation, the vesting of employees’ interests in their accounts and limits on contributions and withdrawals. We’ll then briefly take a look at nonqualified plans and the purposes they can serve.

In module three, will turn to ERISA provisions other than those that relate to retirement plans. We’ll focus on health and welfare plans, including a brief discussion of the COBRA health insurance option. We’ll look at “multiemployer” and “multiple employer” plans. The module also discusses the reporting and disclosure requirements of these plans, including the Form 5500 and wrap-plan documents.

Module four turns to the responsibilities of the fiduciaries who run the plans and participant rights. We will discuss the duties of loyalty, care, diversification, continuity, conservation of funds and the responsibility to be true to the plan documents. We also look at participants’ remedies for breaches of these responsibilities. We’ll also focus on the rights of the participant, such as access to plan information, fair process for benefit claims and the right to bring remedial lawsuits.

Finally, we will spend the last module looking at high topics in ERISA litigation. These include examinations and applications of the fiduciary responsibilities and exemptions for certain religious organizations. We’ll also look at class action lawsuits brought under ERISA.

We recommend this course in conjunction with our other courses on employee benefits and taxation as comprehensive training in the areas of employment law and employee benefits.

Best of luck and we welcome your feedback.


Overview of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act - Module 1 of 5


Qualified Retirement Plants - Module 2 of 5


Welfare Plans, Multiemployer Plans and Reporting Obligations - Module 3 of 5


Fiduciary Responsibilities and Participant Rights - Module 4 of 5


Hot Topics in ERISA Litigation - Module 5 of 5

Final Exam only needs to be taken by those seeking to earn the Digital Badge credentials for this course.