Today's volatile business climate results in frequent restructurings, including reductions in force. Potential mergers, acquisitions or spin-offs can be torpedoed by the improper handling of benefit liabilities. Worse, hidden benefit liabilities can prove to be a time bomb if not discovered in the due diligence process.
We routinely advise clients on the benefits aspects of mergers, spin-offs and divestitures, and have counseled clients in some of the country's largest corporate transactions. Our counseling in these matters typically does not end with the completion of the transaction, but includes advice relating to the streamlining of the new benefit structure after the transaction.
Reductions in force create an unusual interplay among tax-qualified pension plan issues, severance plan issues, equal employment issues and employee relations. We advise many employers on "window plans" designed to induce voluntary resignations as a means of workforce reduction. These plans require special care to avoid tax, ERISA, ADEA/OWBPA, and fiduciary concerns, while securing the enforceability of employee claim waivers.