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ERISA fee litigation seems out of control. In fact, the number of lawsuits filed in 2020 was double the number filed in 2018. While some of the fiduciaries who were sued didn’t take their fiduciary responsibilities seriously, many others who tried to do a good job were caught in the sights of aggressive class action attorneys. There have been fewer decisions on the merits than you might expect in these cases, relative to the number filed.  Many are settled without a final decision. This may leave fiduciaries wondering if it is ever possible to avoid a trial or extensive discovery…
Google was subject to some criticism last month after firing one of its senior-level artificial-intelligence computer scientists, Timnit Gebru, for sending an email alluding to the company’s mistreatment of minority employees. Gebru, who held the position of a co-leader in Google’s Ethical AI Team in Silicon Valley, led and fostered research that assisted in raising the company’s status as a pioneer in the tech industry. According to the Washington Post, Gebru worked amongst a racially homogeneous group and was driven to push for more diversity and inclusion in her team. She sent an email out to a list of…
On December 31, 2020 the Healthy Terminals Act was signed into law by Governor Mario Cuomo requiring employees working at airports and with contractors providing airport food services to receive fringe benefits or cash supplements. The bill was co-sponsored by State Senator Alessandra Biaggi, D-Bronx and supported by Service Employees International Union Local 32 BJ, the union representing many of the airport workers.  It is expected that this new law will offset the cost of health care for airport employees who work performing building services, cabin cleaners and wheelchairs and baggage claims attendants. These workers generally cannot afford…
As the Coronavirus Pandemic rages on, many people are wondering how life might change after a vaccine is widely available. Over the last ten months, the pandemic has drastically changed the American workplace, with 42% of the American workforce working remotely. While some employees enjoy the flexibility of working from home, others prefer a traditional office environment. Since many employees have shown that they can successfully work remotely during the pandemic, it’s likely that remote work will remain in some increased capacity after the pandemic ends. For example, Stripe, a financial services firm, has opened up a fully…
Royal Law Firm PLLC January 7, 2021 , 8:59 pm , The Tried and True Strategy of Musk Foundation: This Is No Tesla The Tried and True Strategy of Musk Foundation: This Is No Tesla The last quarter of the year usually shows an uptick in charitable giving – one of the reasons being the need to maximize the deductions for the tax year before it ends. When it comes to the wealthy, more sophisticated strategies show similar focus on tax savings through philanthropy. Even a little giving goes a long way for the donor and the charities.…
Last Tuesday, a New York State appeals court denied Lyft’s attempt to overturn New York City’s minimum wage rules for e-hail drivers.  In 2018, the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) released guidelines establishing the first minimum wage for app-based drivers in the US, setting minimum per-trip charges that guaranteed drivers would earn at least $17.22, which includes minimum wage ($15) plus payroll taxes ($2.22). In 2019, Lyft had argued that the rules set forth by the TLC were biased towards its competitor, Uber, and sued the commission. The 2019 lawsuit against the TLC was brought to an end by New…
The COVID-19 pandemic has rocked the nation to its core, leaving virtually no one unaffected. Working women have been particularly impacted during this time. Not only have women been more likely to lose their jobs than men during the pandemic, but women working from home have also suddenly found themselves simultaneously juggling full time jobs and childcare as many schools move online. What are the results of these changes? According to an annual report published by McKinsey & Company and  LeanIn.org, one in four women are considering slowing down or pausing their careers due to difficulties brought about by…
Last month, Alysa Butler, a Coinbase employee, informed the New York Times about racial discrimination and exclusivity in the workplace. Butler was one of 15 black employees at the company who complained to the human resources department about ongoing issues around racism before leaving the company last year. Coinbase, a prominent cryptocurrency start-up in the United States, is not the first tech company that has had racial diversity problems. The tech industry has a reputation for placing a glass ceiling on minority and female employees from receiving equal treatment and opportunities to move up the corporate ladder. Current and former…
After nearly 9 months since the Coronavirus pandemic hit the United States, the FDA has approved two vaccines. As more and more Americans get vaccinated, people are wondering whether employers can require all employees to be vaccinated before returning to the workplace. Some employers may want to force employees to be vaccinated to help ensure the safest working environment possible. But do employers have the right to dictate an employee’s medical choices? This is a very important question in light of the fact that, as of November 2020, 39% of Americans reported that they probably or definitely would not…
This is the time of year when we see lots of articles on hot plan trends for 2021 and what benefits innovations plan sponsors are adopting. This is all well and good, but the beginning of the new year is also a good time for fiduciaries to review basic plan policies and operations to see how they can be improved. The better these are, the greater the chances your plan will survive an audit with no change or prevail in a fiduciary breach lawsuit.  We all know that 2020 was a banner year for ERISA litigation, and there is no…