By Bill Wright
Following the broad reading that the Supreme Court recently adopted for protected complaints under the FLSA, the Seventh Circuit has ruled that ERISA non-retaliation provision should have a similar broad reading. ERISA protects both employees who engage in formal proceedings about benefit plans and also employees who informally ask questions about the plans or benefits.
Fortunately, the court also notes that “trivial belly-aches” are not likely to “cause” an adverse action, and cautions that the “employee’s grievance” must be a plausible issue, even if ultimately mistaken. George v. Junior Achievement of Central Indiana, Inc., No. 11-3291 (7th Cir. September 4, 2012).