Standard for Interference Claim Under Section ERISA 510

In order to show that a person interfered with an individual's right to receive an employee benefit, the individual must show that the person had a "specific intent" to interfere with the receipt of those benefits.  Fitzgerald v. Action, Inc., 521 F.3d 867, 871 (8th Cir. 2008).  This showing may be made with direct or circumstantial evidence.

In the absence of direct evidence, a court will apply the McDonnell Douglas burden shifting analysis applied to Title VII and ADEA cases.

 

 

 

Section 510 of ERISA - Generally

Section 510 of ERISA, 29 U.S.C. § 1140, makes it unlawful for any person to discriminate against an plan participant or beneficiary, or in some cases, an employer for exercising rights provided by an employee benefit plan, certain sections of ERISA. or the Welfare and Pension Plans Disclosure Act.

The text states, in relevant part,

"It shall be unlawful for any person to discharge, fine, suspend, expel, discipline, or discriminate against a participant or beneficiary for exercising any right to which he is entitled under the provisions of an employee benefit plan, this subchapter, section
    1201 of this title, or the Welfare and Pension Plans Disclosure Act  [29 U.S.C. 301 et seq.], or for the purpose of interfering with the  attainment of any right to which such participant may become entitled under the plan, this subchapter, or the Welfare and Pension   Plans Disclosure Act. It shall be unlawful for any person to discharge, fine, suspend, expel, or discriminate against any person because he has given information or has testified or is about to testify in any inquiry or proceeding relating to this chapter or the    Welfare and Pension Plans Disclosure Act. In the case of a multiemployer plan, it shall be unlawful for the plan sponsor or any other person to discriminate against any contributing employer for exercising rights under this chapter or for giving information or testifying in any inquiry or proceeding relating to this chapter  before Congress."