Samantha PrinceApril 2022—Professor Samantha Prince’s article, “Megacompany Employee Churn Meets 401(k) Vesting Schedules: A Sabotage on Workers’ Retirement Wealth,” was accepted for publication by the Yale Law & Policy Review. Her article will appear as the lead article in its Fall 2022 issue.

Professor Prince’s article provides a detailed look at the disparate impact that employee churn has on retirement wealth of people of color and lower income workers. Her article explains that some large, high turnover companies are abusing the retirement system by using legally permissible 401(k) plan vesting schedules to exacerbate retirement insecurity and wealth inequality, while benefiting themselves. For example, when employees leave Amazon before the end of their third year of service, they walk away with no Amazon contributions that were made on their behalf. Instead, that money results in a corporate windfall by reallocating the forfeited funds to reduce future Amazon contributions or administrative fees.

This is problematic on many levels but particularly so when you consider that Amazon deliberately seeks to churn workers within three years, which forecloses them from receiving Amazon contributions. Most of the impacted employees are people of color and low-income workers.

Allowing megacompanies who know they have high turnover to do this is against public policy. And it exacerbates retirement wealth inequality for people of color and low-income workers. Professor Prince’s article offers sound recommendations to combat these corporate practices. You can read a draft of the article here.

Professor Prince’s article takes advantage of her expertise in employee benefits and retirement plan design and operation, which she originally developed in practice. She brings relevant employee benefits and retirement plan issues into the classroom when teaching her Entrepreneurship Law courses.

Professor Samantha Prince is an Assistant Professor of Law and Director of Legal Analysis and Writing at Dickinson Law. She has a Master of Laws in Taxation from Georgetown University Law Center, and was a partner in a regional law firm where she handled transactional matters that ranged from an initial public offering to regular representation of a publicly-traded company. Most of her clients were small to medium sized businesses and entrepreneurs, including start-ups. A significant part of her practice was in employee benefits including retirement plan design and operation. An expert in entrepreneurship law, she established the Dickinson Law entrepreneurship program, is an advisor for the Entrepreneurship Law Certificate that is available to students, and is the founder and moderator of the Inside Entrepreneurship Law blog.