Under ERISA, Sterling Financial Corporation employees can file a lawsuit against the company for putting stock options at risk. Sterling Financial Corporation employees have a claim if they can prove their employer violated its fiduciary duty to its employees. Fiduciary duty refers to a company's responsibility to the people who invest in it. If an employer puts the company's interest ahead of the investors', it has broken its fiduciary duty. A fiduciary is a person that exercises discretion over the management of plan assets or exercises discretionary control over the administration of the plan.
ERISA is a federal law that sets minimum standards for pension and health plans set up by private businesses. ERISA was designed to protect people who participate in employee benefit plans, including employees with stock options in a company. Stock options are a form of compensation in which employees are given the opportunity to purchase shares of the company stock at a certain price.