This blogpost is a supplement to our monthly webinar series on how to prepare your organization for a Department of Labor (DOL) audit.
Today we have some suggestions for best practices when dealing with the DOL. Though this may appear to be a trying process, it does not need to be. Consider these actions once the organization (or plan) receives an initial document request via a letter from the regional or district office of the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), a division of the DOL.
- Treat the investigator with the utmost respect and the investigation as a major priority.
- Consult with your legal counsel as soon as a document request arrives.
- Keep senior management apprised of the progress on the investigation.
- Obtain as much information about the investigation as possible from the EBSA investigator.
- Arrange a time to deliver documentation to the investigator that allows you enough time to gather all the requested documents, while also accommodating his or her schedule.
- Consult with your service providers when receiving a document request to ensure they will be involved in rectifying any noncompliance issues.
- Gather materials for an onsite investigation in an orderly fashion and have them ready for the investigator when he or she arrives.
- Have your legal counsel work with interviewees to familiarize them with the scope and purpose of the investigation.
- If your investigation yields a violation, learn as much about the violation as possible before the VC letter arrives. Discuss these violations with your legal counsel.
- If you determine that you will make changes to the alleged violations, have your legal counsel work with the DOL to ensure that there is an understanding of exactly what needs to be changed.
- Generally it is advisable to cooperate with the DOL and resolve the matter as favorably and quickly as possible. You will save both internal time spent on the matter as well as legal fees.
While it is a stressful situation when the DOL come knocking you can prepare yourself ahead of time by making sure your documents are in order. AUI has some materials it offers to clients free of charge to help prepare yourself ahead of time for a Department of Labor audit. If you would like more information, please contact us today!