While many workers in this time of economic instability and rampant layoffs are afraid to rock the boat by questioning their employers' decisions, recent lawsuits over high 401(k) fees have empowered some workers to ask their employers to offer lower-cost choices.

Most notably, lawsuits against Caterpillar and Hartford Life over excessive 401(k) fees were recently settled in investors’ favor, for $16.5 million and $13.8 million, respectively. In addition, another influential case, against Wal-Mart’s $11 billion plan, is pending.

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