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L6327 Employment Law

Published : 31-Aug,2021  |  Views : 10


Case :- Helton v. AT&T

Summarize the main points of the case. Indicate the legal issue for the case and provided the basis or criteria on which a decision was reached (or supported). What was the critical factor in the outcome of the case and how can this be applied in HR matters in the future?



The present report is based on the case of Helton, an employee of AT & T Inc. she brings an allegation against the company that the company had failed to perform its statutory duties regarding pension plan and due to this, she had deprived of her benefits for eight long years. After perusing all the related matters, both the District Court and the Supreme Court delivered their judgment against the company (Albano & Sanyshyn, 2016).



It has been observed that the plaintiff was working in the company and after serving certain period, she retired from her post and did not approach for the pension scheme as she thought that she will not eligible for the pension until the age of sixty five. However, it has been observed that the company had amended certain provisions regarding the pension plan and did not followed up the same to her. Due to this, she had lost her benefits and alleged that the company had breached its statutory duties. It has been observed that the company had failed to maintain the provision of Employee Retirement Income Security Act 1974 regarding disclosure obligation (Anderson, 2015). It was also alleged by her that it was the fiduciary duty of the company to keep her informed about the pension plan, but they failed to do it. After analysing the documents and the evidences, both the courts had held the company guilty and pronounced its judgment in favour of Helton.

Legal issues:

The main legal issue of the case is that whether the company had failed to perform their statutory and fiduciary duties regarding the pension plan or not and whether the provisions of Employee Retirement Income Security Act 1974 has been violated by the company.

Reason for the decision:

It has been observed that before taking the retirement at the age of fifty five years, she made a mail to the company regarding her pension plan, but the company had not pay any heed to it. Later on the company had made an amendment to the pension plan but did not informed her (Clark, Morrill & Vanderweide, 2014). It has also been observed that the company had failed to perform the necessary duties as per the provision of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act 1974. It has also been observed that after she had approached before the company regarding her lost benefit, company denied providing the same to her without showing reasonable cause.

Impacts on HR matters:

This case has cleared the fact that the Human Resource department should have to work for the benefit and interest of the employees. In this case, the HR department had failed to perform their duties even after the plaintiff had sent them mail. They had failed to inform her about the pension plan and later incident, failed to provide her sufficient assistance regarding the pension (Koedel, Ni & Podgursky, 2014). This case cleared that it is the duty of the HR department to act for the employees and in any case, they failed to perform it, the affected employee can claim compensation from them.


Albano, J., & Sanyshyn, A. (2016). Corporate Criminal Liability. Am. Crim. L. Rev., 53, 1027.

Anderson, A. J. (2015). Leveling the Playing Field among the NFL, Clubs, and Players-by Amending the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. Marq. Sports L. Rev., 26, 199.

Clark, R. L., Morrill, M. S., & Vanderweide, D. (2014). Defined benefit pension plan distribution decisions by public sector employees. Journal of Public Economics, 116, 73-88.

Koedel, C., Ni, S., & Podgursky, M. (2014). Who benefits from pension enhancements?. Education, 9(2), 165-192.

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