This lawsuit claims that Marriott violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by failing to provide participants and beneficiaries in the plan with adequate notice of their right to continue their health coverage upon the occurrence of a “qualifying event.”
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) is a federal law that establishes minimum standards for pension plans in private industry and provides extensive rules on federal income tax effects of transactions associated with employee benefit plans. ERISA was enacted to protect the interests of employee benefit plans and their beneficiaries by requiring the disclosure of financial and other information concerning the plan to beneficiaries, establishing standards of conduct for plan fiduciaries, and providing for appropriate remedies and access to the federal courts.
The COBRA amendments to ERISA include certain provisions relating to continuation of health coverage upon termination of employment or another “qualifying event” as defined by the statute. Among other things, COBRA requires the plan sponsor of each group health plan normally employing more than 20 employees on a typical business day during the preceding year to provide “each qualified beneficiary who would lose coverage under the plan as a result of a qualifying event… to elect, within the election period, continuation coverage under the plan.” COBRA further requires the administrator of such a group health plan to provide notice to any qualified beneficiary of their continuation of coverage rights under COBRA upon the occurrence of a qualifying event.
One plaintiff in this lawsuit, Alina Vazquez, was employed by Marriott as a House Keeper from November 1998 to October 2016. On October 3, 2016, Vazquez was terminated from her position for reasons other than gross misconduct. On October 11, 2016, Marriott mailed her a notice that was deficient because it served Marriott’s interests and failed to provide Vazquez appropriate coverage information that was set forth in COBRA. After receiving this deficient notice, she was unable to obtain continuation coverage.
Marriott has repeatedly violated ERISA by failing to provide employees who were terminated (or who experienced other “qualifying events”) adequate notice of their health coverage. The plaintiffs in this lawsuit and other former employees across the country have their health at risk due to Marriott’s unlawful practices.
Based on the facts of the case, the plaintiffs in this class action lawsuit allege that Marriott violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by failing to provide an adequate notice to participants and benefits in their plan who have experienced a “qualifying event.”