The U.S. Department of Labor and Cleveland-based Sherwin-Williams Co. have agreed to an $80 million settlement in which those funds are to be distributed to current and past participants of its employee stock purchase and savings plan.

This settlement comes after an investigation by the DOL's Employee Benefits Security Administration. This investigation examined whether Sherwin-Williams took advantage of tax breaks and improperly managed the plan, which is against the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. Illinois-based GreatBanc Trust Co. also must face an audit of its pension plan activities as part of the settlement.

"Those who manage retirement plan assets are in a special position of trust and are required by law to always put the interests of plan participants ahead of anything else," says acting Secretary of Labor Seth D. Harris. "That did not happen in this situation. This agreement rightfully restores money to the workers who've played by the rules, done the right thing and worked hard to save for a secure retirement."

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