MONEY legal

Wall Street Executive Must Pay $18 Million In Sexual Harassment Suit

Speakers At The Hedge Funds Asia Summit Hosted By Bloomberg Link
Bloomberg/Getty Images Benjamin Wey, Chief Executive Officer at New York Global Group.

Benjamin Wey, CEO of New York Global Group, was accused of pressuring a female employee into sex and then firing her once he found out she had a boyfriend.

Wall Street CEO Benjamin Wey must pay $18 million to a former employee for sexually harassment, retaliation, defamation, a federal court ruled on Monday.

The Associated Press reports that Benjamin Wey, the chief executive officer of investing firm New York Global Group, was accused of using his authority to coerce Hanna Bouveng into having sex on four occasions before firing her six months later. According to Bouveng, the firing occurred when Wey found another man in her $3,600-a-month Tribeca apartment that Wey had helped pay for.

Following Bouveng’s firing, the 25-year old Swedish native claims Wey tried to ruin her reputation by calling her a “street walker” and “loose woman” on his blog. Her lawyers also say Wey traveled to Bouveng’s new job at a cafe in Stockholm, Sweden, in order to intimidate her. “The message was: ‘Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I am going to find you and I am going to get you,” said Bouveng’s attorney during the trial.

Wey argued he and Bouveng never slept together and that the woman’s party-going lifestyle eventually led to her firing. However, the court found in favor of Bouveng and ordered the CEO to pay $2 million in compensation and $16 million in punitive damages.

Read next: Goldman Sachs Bans Interns from Pulling All-Nighters at the Office

MONEY colleges

Department of Education Backs Away from Plan to Rate Colleges

stacks of unlabeled books
Grant Faint—Getty Images

The Obama administration's plan to officially rate colleges appears to be cancelled.

The U.S. Department of Education appears to have scrapped plans to create a college rating system, according to an announcement on the agency’s official website.

In a blog posting Thursday, Deputy Under Secretary for Postsecondary Education Jamienne Studley said the department would be releasing a tool this summer that will “provide students with more data than ever before to compare college costs and outcomes” in order to “Help students to reach their own conclusions about a college’s value.” The new system will still provide information on colleges, but refrain from assigning a ranking.

That policy differs starkly from the president’s original plan, announced in August of 2013, to develop a rating system for colleges and tie federal financial aid to each institution’s performance. The ratings would have been based on factors like better access for lower-income students, affordability, and outcomes such as graduation rate and graduate earnings.

However, the rankings initiative met stiff opposition from educators who accused the administration of embracing a one-size-fits-all approach.

“Applying a sledgehammer to the whole system isn’t going to work,” Robert G. Templin Jr., president of Northern Virginia Community College, told the New York Times last year. “They think their vision of higher education is the only one.”

While some officials initially claimed the creation of a college ratings system would be a relatively simple endeavor—Deputy Under Secretary Studley previously compared rating colleges to “rating a blender”—the department seems to have come around to Templin’s position.

“Through our research and our conversations with the field, we have found that the needs of students are very diverse and the criteria they use to choose a college vary widely,” wrote Studley on Thursday. “By providing a wealth of data–including many important metrics that have not been published before–students and families can make informed comparisons and choices based on the criteria most important to them.”

In an interview with the Chronicle of Higher Education, Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell did not explicitly say the ratings plan had been cancelled, but admitted the department would “be focusing on the consumer-focused tool for this year’s project.” The ratings system was originally scheduled for release before the 2015 school year.

Even though the government has pulled back from providing official college ratings, the new system will be built to assist third parties in creating their own rankings. Studley’s blog post included a promise to “provide open data to researchers, institutions and the higher education community to help others benchmark institutional performance.”

Last summer, MONEY debuted its own “Best Colleges” rankings. Those ratings used a number of metrics to determine a college’s quality affordability, post-graduation outcomes, and affordability and then compose an overall ranking based on those features.

MONEY financial problems

This Worry Keeps 62% of Americans Up at Night

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Frederic Cirou—Getty Images

Concerns about money are leaving a majority of Americans sleepless.

Most Americans are losing sleep over a financial concern, according to a new report.

A survey conducted by CreditCards.com found 62% of respondents said they were being kept awake by at least one financial problem. That number is lower than during the tail end of the recession in 2009, when 69% of Americans said they were losing sleep over their finances, but still worse than the beginning of the financial crisis in 2007 when the proportion of those kept awake stood at 56%.

Among those who are losing sleep, the most common fear is not saving enough for retirement. About 40% of Americans report they sometimes stay awake worrying about their retirement savings, and as many as half of respondents between age 50 and 64 say this concern keeps them up at night.

The second largest worry is educational expenses, which keeps 31% of the population—and 50% of 18-­ to 29-year­-olds—from slumber, followed by 29% of Americans who stay restless over medical bills.

Matt Schulz, senior industry analyst at CreditCards.com, said the results highlight how record levels of student debt have taken a toll on students and recent graduates. “It kind of confirms a lot of what we’ve seen,” said Schulz. “The education costs are the only financial fear that has continuously grown in all of the times we’ve done this survey.”

He also offered suggestions for how people stressed out by their finances can finally get some shuteye. “People lose sleep when things seem out of their control, and a lot of folks with student debt feel like it’s out of their control,” the analyst noted. “It’s important that people who are losing sleep and feel out of control take some sort action, whether they’re making a budget, or getting a side job—doing something that can help them get a little control over their financial issue. It may not solve their financial problems, but it might help them sleep better at night because they feel like they’re doing something about it.”

He also pointed out that, perhaps unsurprisingly, Americans making over $75,000 per year were less likely to lose sleep than those with lower incomes. “They say that money can’t buy you love or happiness but our survey shows it might be able to buy you a better night’s sleep,” Schulz added.

 

MONEY Food & Drink

What Happened When We Tried Pizza Hut’s New Hot Dog Pizza

Do hot dogs and pizza go together like chocolate and peanut butter or oil and water?

Pizza Hut is finally selling its new hot dog pizza to the public. We got our hands on a pair of pies as soon as we could, and were anxious to try them. The reviews were immediately mixed, ranging from “It’s not the worst thing” and “I like it” to “Whoa, that’s slimy” and “I don’t want to try that.” Hot dogs and pizza may be more like oil and water for some, but for others it’s a match made in heaven.

MONEY Travel

America Just Saved Your Carry-On Bag

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Tetra images RF/Getty Images

A proposal that would try to shrink the size of carry on-luggage is getting "a comprehensive reassessment" after American backlash.

Last week, the International Air Transportation Association made waves in the travel world when it announced a proposal to reduce the size of airline carry-on luggage. The new specifications were a 20% smaller than what major U.S. carriers currently permit, leaving many travelers worried they might have to purchase new luggage if they wanted to bring them on board.

Now, the Chicago Tribune reports that the trade group, whose member airlines represent almost 85% of total air traffic, is backing down and beginning a “comprehensive reassessment in light of concerns expressed, primarily in North America.”

While the IATA, which is based in Montreal, gave the entire continent credit for shouting down its bag regulations, U.S. opposition may deserve the most credit. Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) both ridiculed the plan, with Menendez expressing his suspicion that the proposal could be “another industry ploy related to baggage fees since dubious tactics, like hidden fees, are already used to trick consumers.”

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports a U.S. airline group that includes American, Delta and United, the world’s three largest airlines, also came out against the bag standards.

Backlash against the smaller carry-on bags initially prompted the IATA to clarify that their proposal was not a hard cap, but rather an optimum size that would give qualifying luggage priority to stay on the plane in case the flight became too full. But on Wednesday, the organization backed off further and announced it was putting the plan on hold for reassessment.

As the Upshot‘s Josh Barro points out, the IATA isn’t exactly crazy to be encouraging smaller carry-ons—unpopular as the idea may be. “On average, commercial flights on American carriers rose from 73 percent full in 2002 to 83 percent full in 2014,” writes Barro. “Those trends, and the imposition of fees for checked baggage, have combined to mean overhead bin space is increasingly scarce, and airlines must more frequently gate-check carry-on bags, which delays boarding and annoys passengers.”

But he also notes policing luggage sizes can be too time consuming (and off-putting to passengers) to be cost-effective for airlines, which is why most companies don’t even abide by the current size limits. “In the past, U.S. airlines have not enforced their existing carry-on luggage standards, so American consumers continued to purchase the larger sized carry-ons,” Stephanie Goldman, a senior director for marketing at the luggage manufacturer Samsonite, told the Upshot.

Now, thanks to America, you can still bring those larger bags on your flight.

Read next: Airline Group Says Your Carry On Bag Should Be Even Smaller

MONEY renting

Renters In These Cities Pay the Most for Washer/Dryers

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Flickr RM/Getty Images

In some markets, a washer and dryer in your apartment can cost an extra $325 per month.

In-unit laundry: it’s the ultimate rental luxury. Most of us are forced to trudge to the basement if we’re lucky, or drag our clothes to the nearest laundromat. It’s enough of an annoyance to make even the most frugal renter wonder just how much would it cost for the ability to wash and dry clothes in the comfort of their own apartment.

Thanks to real estate website Trulia, we finally know the answer to that question—at least for some major cities. After analyzing large multi-family buildings listed for rent on its site, Trulia’s researchers found apartments with in-unit washers and dryers command a 10% per month premium on average across 13 top metro areas.

But while that might be the average cost for in-unit laundry, the actual price varies widely. Philadelphia pay an average premium of 20% on their rent bill—or $211—for their own washer/dryer, while Dallas-Fort Worth renters pay a paltry an average of 3% of their rent ($33) for the privilege.

And which city hosts the cheapest (and most expensive) in-unit laundry in dollar terms? Los Angeles has the dubious honor of being the priciest out of the 13 metros Trulia surveyed, with washing and drying machines costing renters an average of $325 per month. Meanwhile, Seattle is practically handing out washer/dryers to renters. Trulia found in-unit laundry in the Emerald City cost renters only $23 extra per month.

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If the laundry premium in your city sounds fair, you’re in luck. Trulia has even mapped out the neighborhoods where in-unit laundry is most common.

MONEY Food & Drink

Starbucks Just Released an App Update That Lets You Skip Waiting in Line

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Zhang Peng—LightRocket / Getty Images

Coffee fans in 21 more states will be able to order their drinks ahead of time using Starbucks' mobile app.

Good news, Starbucks fans: The company is expanding a pilot program that lets customers order ahead of time and bypass the checkout line to 21 new states.

That program, known as mobile Mobile Order & Pay, launched last December in Portland and works through Starbucks’ existing iPhone app. Users can simply select their drink, their local store (the app even features wait times at various locations) and pay for their drink using the app. Then they can just stroll through the door and pick up their order—no line-waiting required.

In March, Starbucks expanded the program to Pacific Northwest, including Seattle, and now the company has announced the Mobile Order & Pay is also coming to 3,400 locations in the southern and central United States.

So far, Android users are still locked out of using the service—Mobile Order & Pay is currently iPhone-only—but Techcrunch reports the program will expand to all company-operated stores and the Android platform later this year.

MONEY Workplace

Goldman Sachs Bans Interns from Pulling All-Nighters at the Office

Bernard Van Berg / EyeEm / Getty Images

The investment bank is putting an end to overnight work in an effort to improve interns' well-being.

Goldman Sachs has a message for its most junior employees: You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here all night.

The investment bank is demanding its new summer interns be out of the office between midnight and 7am, Reuters reports. The new policy comes as financial industry, notorious for its grueling hours, tries to make banking a less stressful endeavor.

The 2013 death of a Bank of America intern in London, which may have been partially induced by fatigue, raised awareness of the finance world’s difficult working conditions and sparked reform efforts. Following the incident, Bank of America modified its policies to be more work-life friendly, and recommended analysts and associates “take a minimum of four weekend days off per month.”

Goldman, Credit Suisse, Citi Group, and other banks have made similar reforms, telling its junior bankers to take off Saturdays or weekends, and in Goldman’s case, forming a task force for quality of life issues.

Part of this reduction in hours is due to health concerns, but as the New York Times noted last year, it’s also driven by new competition from other industries, particularly technology firms, that offer the chance of riches and a personal life. This has lead more potential bankers to demand a (slightly) more livable schedule.

“My students, men and women, talk much more openly about an expectation of work-life balance,” Sonia Marciano, a professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business, told the Times. “It’s a shift that seems pretty real and substantial.”

MONEY overdraft fees

Fewer People Are Paying Overdraft Fees and Banks are Hurting

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Johner Images&mdash/Getty Images/Johner RF

Overdraft fees are on the decline, and it's hitting banks where they live.

Overdraft fees, one of the most hated charges in existence, are getting smaller. And the loss of revenue is costing banks dearly.

The Wall Street Journal, citing data from economic research firm Moebs Services Inc, reports revenue from overdraft fees is down 4% from last year, the largest drop since 2011. Overdraft fees tend to dwarf other consumer-related revenue streams like ATM and maintenance fees and the WSJ notes overdraft fees make up 6% of earnings at banks with at least $10 billion in assets. Total overdraft revenue has fallen from $37 billion dollars in 2009 to about $31 billion today.

Why are overdraft fees becoming less lucrative? Increased regulation has played a big role. A 2010 Federal Reserve rule has prevented banks from charging fees on purchases or ATM withdrawals that would overdraw the consumer’s account unless that customer specifically opts in to “overdraft protection.” (If a customer does not opt in, a transaction that would overdraw their account is simply declined.)

Since then, overdraft revenue has dropped, and fear of further federal restrictions is encouraging some banks to take a gentler approach with those who do incur the fees. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is expected to release new overdraft regulations in the next year, according to the WSJ.

The slow death of the overdraft fee is a feel-good story for most people, but the banking industry argues that consumers will pay a cost. Richard Hunt, chief executive of the Consumer Bankers Association, told the WSJ that banks may start charging higher monthly maintenance fees (and raising the minimum balance required to be exempt from those fees).

There’s something to this argument: Overdraft fees, though a big source of revenue for banks, are paid by a small fraction of their customers. A 2014 study by the CFPB found 8.3% of customers overdraft more than 10 times annually, and they’re collectively responsible for a 73.7% of all overdraft fees. Meanwhile, nearly 70% of account holders pay no overdraft fees at all.

So many bank customers will hardly notice the absence of overdraft fees. But can banks really make up for the lost revenue by charging non-overdrafting customers more? That’s not so clear. After all, if checking account holders as a group are so willing to pay higher maintenance fees, why aren’t banks charging them already? Maybe overdraft fees were just a low hanging fruit for banks—an easy fee they could charge to a small group of customers with fewer options.

As overdraft fees fade away, we’ll find out.

MONEY Whole Foods

Whole Foods Says This Is the Best Day for Discounts

whole-foods
John Nordell/Getty Images

It's the one day where sales from the current week and the previous week overlap.

Planning to make a Whole Foods run anytime soon? Schedule that shopping for the middle of the week and you might save some money.

A Whole Foods rep tells Business Insider that Wednesday is the one day where the sales from the current week and the previous week overlap, leaving consumers with a larger number of discounts.

The Austin-based company has lately made it clear it want to compete for more price-sensitive customers. It’s launching a new chain called 365, with an emphasis on lower prices for small range of foods.

The Whole Foods rep was also quick to mention bargain-happy customers can save in other ways, like subscribing to email alerts or cutting coupons, but people who really want to save are likely doing that already. For the rest of us: Wednesday. Just remember Wednesday.

(Or shop at a cheaper supermarket.)

Read next: 12 Ways to Slash Your Grocery Bill by Cutting Out Food Waste

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