Your rights as a participant
As a participant in the Plan, you are entitled to certain rights and protections under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"). ERISA provides that all Plan participants are entitled to:
- Examine, without charge, at the Plan Administrator's office, all documents governing the Plan (the Plan document and trust agreement), and a copy of the latest annual report (Form 5500 Series) filed by the Plan Administrator with the U.S. Department of Labor and available at the Public Disclosure Room of the Employee Benefits Security Administration
- Obtain, upon written request to the Plan Administrator, copies of all documents governing the operation of the Plan (the Plan document and trust agreement), and copies of the latest annual report (Form 5500 Series) and updated summary plan description (The Plan Administrator will make a reasonable charge for the copies.)
- Receive a summary of the Plan's annual financial report (The Plan Administrator is required by law to furnish each participant with a copy of this summary annual report.)
In addition to creating rights for Plan participants, ERISA imposes duties upon the persons who are responsible for the operation of the Plan. The people who operate your Plan, called "fiduciaries" of the Plan, have a duty to do so prudently and in the interest of you and other Plan participants and beneficiaries. No one, including your employer, your union, or any other person, may fire you or otherwise discriminate against you in any way to prevent you from obtaining a benefit under the Plan or exercising your rights under ERISA.
If your claim for a benefit under the Plan is denied or ignored, in whole or in part, you have a right to know why this was done, to obtain copies of documents relating to the decision without charge, and to appeal any denial, all within certain time schedules (these rights are described in "Claims and appeals" of this summary plan description).
Under ERISA, there are steps you can take to enforce the above rights. For instance, if you request a copy of Plan documents or the latest annual report from the Plan and do not receive them within 30 days, you may file suit in a Federal court. In such a case, the court may require the Plan Administrator to provide the materials and pay you up to $110 a day until you receive the materials, unless the materials were not sent because of reasons beyond the control of the Plan Administrator. If you have a claim for benefits which is denied or ignored, in whole or in part, you may file suit in a state or Federal court. In addition, if you disagree with the Plan's decision or lack thereof concerning the qualified status of a domestic relations order, you may file suit in Federal court. If it should happen that Plan fiduciaries misuse the Plan's money, or if you are discriminated against for asserting your rights, you may seek assistance from the U.S. Department of Labor, or you may file suit in a Federal court. The court will decide who should pay court costs and legal fees. If you are successful the court may order the person you have sued to pay these costs and fees. If you lose, the court may order you to pay these costs and fees, for example, if it finds your claim is frivolous. Any suit must be files within the time frames discussed in the "Claims and appeals" section.
If you have any questions about your Plan, you should contact the Plan Administrator. If you have any questions about this statement or about your rights under ERISA, or if you need assistance in obtaining documents from the Plan Administrator, you should contact the nearest office of the Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, listed in your telephone directory or the Division of Technical Assistance and Inquiries, Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210. You may also obtain certain publications about your rights and responsibilities under ERISA by calling the publications hotline of the Employee Benefits Security Administration.