Hundreds of current and former employees of collapsed energy trader Enron Corp. filed a class action lawsuit in Houston seeking damages for losses they suffered by investing in the company's 401(k) plan, lawyers said on Monday.

Charging that employees were encouraged to invest in Enron stock without being notified of the company's "precarious" financial condition, the lawsuit names Kenneth Lay, the former chief executive of the company, Jeffrey Skilling, another former chief executive, and Andrew Fastow, the former chief financial officer, as defendants.

Other defendants include the Northern Trust Company, the retirement plan's trustee, and accounting firm Andersen, lawyers representing more than 400 present and past Enron employees said in a statement.

"Enron executives were profiting from an elaborate shell game, using the hard-earned retirement savings of their loyal employees," said Randy McClanahan, one of the lawyers for the employees. "We plan to show that the people running Enron's 401(k) retirement plan disregarded the very employees that federal law requires they protect."

Enron sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection early last month in the biggest filing in U.S. corporate history.