3 Prominent Universities Are Sued by Employees Over Retirement Plans

[Updated (8/10/2016, 11:00 a.m.) with responses from MIT and Yale.]

Yale University, New York University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are being sued by employees who accuse the institutions of allowing them to be charged excessive fees on their retirement savings, The New York Times reported on Tuesday. The workers are seeking class-action status in the lawsuits.

Their complaints allege that the universities, which each have retirement plans with more than $3 billion in assets, failed to monitor fees paid to administer the employees’ accounts, which are known as 403(b) plans. The universities were accused of failing to substitute expensive, under-performing investments with cheaper ones, reported the Times.

“It is important for retirees and employees of the universities to have the same rights and ability to build their retirement assets as employees of for-profit companies,” said Jerome J. Schlichter, a lawyer representing the three groups of plaintiffs. The newspaper called him a “pioneer” in retirement-plan litigation.

A spokesman for NYU told the Times that the retirement plans offered to its workers had been “administered carefully and prudently,” and said the university expected to prevail. An MIT spokeswoman told the newspaper that it did not comment on pending litigation. And Yale said it had not yet been officially served with the complaint, but added that it had been “cautious and careful” in administering its plans and would defend itself “vigorously.”

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