Intel Corp. convinced the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a case by an employee challenging the alternative investments, including hedge funds and private equity, in the company’s 401(k) plan.

The dispute asks when the clock starts running on the deadline to file a lawsuit under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. In reviving the case against Intel, the Ninth Circuit adopted an employee-friendly approach that would allow more ERISA lawsuits to move forward. According to the Ninth Circuit, the clock doesn’t start running until a plan participant has actual knowledge of the alleged breach, as opposed to the kind of...