Employee Retirement Income Security Act Preemption

Background

ERISA was generally designed to be the applicable law governing employer-sponsored benefit programs. ERISA thus preempts state laws in order to provide uniformity. In a number of areas, however, courts have interpreted ERISA to deny individuals the protections and benefits of state laws, even when ERISA provides no adequate protection. For example, courts have held that ERISA preempts actions against nonfiduciary violations and preempts state laws against fraud and misrepresentation. The result of preemption in these circumstances is to leave plan participants without a remedy.

Employee Retirement Income Security Act Preemption: Policy

Protections and remedies for plan participants

In this policy: Federal

ERISA should be interpreted and implemented to give participants and beneficiaries full legal protection.

Where ERISA preempts state law, and deprives individuals of rights and remedies available under state law, ERISA should provide an adequate federal remedy.