Columbia the Latest Defendant in Higher Education ERISA Lawsuits
Columbia University joined Duke, Yale, MIT and other prestigious schools yesterday as yet another defendant in what’s shaping up to be a mini-wave of ERISA class actions. The suit claims a breach of fiduciary duty on the part of the school in keeping its faculty’s retirement funds in “expensive and poor-performing investment options” that resulted in “hundreds of millions of dollars of staggering losses to retirement savings.” The suit seeks $100 million in damages.
NHL Sued over Concussions - from Fighting
Yesterday, a group of NHL players filed suit against that organization for alleged negligence in protecting them from preventable head trauma. Interestingly, this suit centers around the culture of fighting in the National Hockey League, and claims the League did not inform the most habitual fighters (“enforcers”) of the serious long-term dangers posed by blows to the head. The complaint accuses the NHL of “promoting” and “glorifying” the fighting, as well as sending a message that “blows to the head should not be considered serious injuries.”
P.F. Chang’s Tipped Employees’ Bid to Stay in the Game
P.F. Chang’s servers and bartenders whose tip-credit suit was tossed last December have pushed back. The FLSA allows the tip-credit wage ($2.13 an hour) to employees who will make the rest up in tips, provided non-tipped duties only take up 20% of their work time. The plaintiffs claim tasks like rolling silverware and cleaning account for anywhere from 33-69% of their work time, and that employers even favor tipped workers for these tasks to avoid having to pay another worker the full minimum wage to do them. The court had applied the Klinghoffer Rule, which calculates workers’ wages averaged over the course of their hours worked in a week in order to determine minimum wage compliance. The plaintiffs argue that the court misapplied this rule and that merely being named servers or bartenders does not allow their employer to pay them the tip-credit rate while actually having them do non-tipped work.