While employers do not have to make any fringe benefit available to employees, many do for competitive reasons, and to improve morale. (The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, will change this reality for health insurance for many employers.) When fringe benefits are offered, however, they are usually governed by a law called ERISA, or the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.
This law requires that benefits be administered in an even-handed manner, according to a written plan, and offering internal appeals of adverse decisions. Pensions and long-term disability decisions are frequent cases brought under ERISA.