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Add disclaimers to benefit information you post online

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in Employee Benefits Program,Human Resources

If your organization's Web site or intranet posts information on employee benefits, you could unintentionally open yourself to a lawsuit. How? The posted information could lead employees to rely on it as the full representation of your plan details, and more employees are starting to sue over the discrepancy.

For example, an employee in Pennsylvania visited his employer's Web site to calculate his benefits if he accepted an early retirement package. Relying on that information, he took early retirement. But the company later said those Web site calculations were wrong, and it limited his benefits. He sued under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), seeking the benefits cited on the company Web site.

Advice: Be cautious about the benefit information you post online, and add pertinent disclaimers. Specifically, employees should be told to rely on the official summary plan description, not your online summary.

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