DOL Investigations of Employee Benefit Plans: Navigating Enforcement Actions, Audits and Settlements

Duration: 90 Minutes
Most employers are aware that the Department of Labor (DOL) regularly investigates wage and hour practices, but did you know that the DOL also investigates your benefit plans? Should the DOL determine that your business is somehow non­compliant, they will attempt to assess penalties. This webinar will educate plan sponsors and fiduciaries on how to prepare for Department of Labor (DOL) investigations or audits as well as prepare employee benefits counsel to represent plan fiduciaries and sponsors facing such investigations or audits.
DOL Investigations of Employee Benefit Plans
Product ID: 501723
Jennifer Kiesewetter a seasoned attorney in the field of employee benefits will discuss how to navigate the investigation process, offer practice pointers on working with Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) investigators, and discuss strategies for determining and implementing corrective action and deciding whether to enter into a settlement agreement.

Objectives of the Presentation
  • What factors should plan sponsors and counsel consider when determining whether to seek settlement of an enforcement action?
  • What are the challenges and pitfalls for negotiating settlements and penalties with EBSA?
  • What are best practices for ensuring compliance and avoiding agency scrutiny?
  • What are the DOL's enforcement initiatives focusing on in 2016?
Why Should you Attend
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) grants the Secretary of Labor - and specifically, the Employee Benefits Security Administration - jurisdiction to investigate any benefit plan governed by ERISA. The agencies responsible for overseeing ERISA-regulated employee benefit plans continue to ramp up investigations and enforcement actions.

EBSA recovered $696.3 million on behalf of plans, participants and beneficiaries in FY 2015. The agency has announced its intention to continue to direct more investigative resources on fiduciaries and service providers responsible for large amounts of plan assets in 2016. EBSA conducts civil and criminal investigations and has authority to refer cases to other governmental agencies such as the IRS, SEC, PBGC or the U.S. Attorney's Office.

DOL investigations can be far-reaching, costly and time-consuming (months or even years). Once a plan sponsor or fiduciary is the target of an investigation, benefits counsel must closely examine the agency's claims, identify and collect extensive documentation and create an investigation strategy that will resolve the agency's allegations and foreclose further action. Counsel for the plan sponsor may also have to decide whether or not to enter into a settlement agreement, which is not always a straightforward decision when settlement can result in an automatic penalty in addition to the cost of remedial measures.

Areas Covered
  • Overview of DOL/EBSA regulatory scheme and enforcement initiatives
  • Various types of DOL audits and what each entails
  • Key DOL Audit Issues
  • Retirement Plans vs. Welfare Plan DOL Audit issues
  • How to prepare for a DOL audit
  • Working with auditors and investigators
  • Corrective action and settlements
  • Steps to negotiate the minimum penalty or charge possible
  • Best practices for responding to investigations and audits
Who will Benefit
  • Executive human resources (directors, vice-presidents)
  • CFOs
  • Small business owners
  • In-house corporate counsel
  • Employee benefit lawyers
$300
Recorded Session for one participant
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Instructor Profile:
Jennifer Kiesewetter is a seasoned attorney in the field of employee benefits, encompassing qualified and nonqualified employee benefit plans, welfare benefit plans, and executive compensation plans.

Ms. Kiesewetter's practice includes regulatory compliance and governance with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"), the Internal Revenue Code and the Affordable Care Act ("ACA"), in addition to the other federal laws governing employee benefits and health care compliance regulatory law. She also represents plan sponsors and employers in ERISA litigation actions.

She is an Adjunct Professor of Employee Benefits at University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. She is also a member of the American, Mississippi, and Memphis Bar Associations, and the Association for Women Attorneys. Additionally, Ms. Kiesewetter is a frequent writer and speaker on the topic of employee benefits and health care compliance regulatory law, both locally, regionally and nationally.

DISTINCTIONS FOR JENNIFER KIESEWETTER:
  • U.S. News & World Report - Best Lawyers 2016 "Best Law Firms" KLF has received a metropolitan tier 2 ranking designation in the practice areas of employee benefits (ERISA) law and litigation (ERISA)
  • The Best Lawyers in America©, Litigation - ERISA, 2013-2016
  • The Best Lawyers in America©, Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, 2015-2016
  • Adjunct Professor, University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, Employee Benefits, 2009-2013, 2015 - present
  • Member, Leadership Memphis, Executive Class, 2013
  • Mentor, Memphis Institute for Leadership Education (MILE), 2010-2011
  • Kindle Award Recipient, 2011
  • "Women to Watch," Memphis Minority Business Magazine

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