IBM settles employee class action suit for $65M

(Original publication: November 23, 2006)

IBM has settled an overtime-pay class-action suit filed in January for $65 million, the Armonk-based company said yesterday.

The case, Rosenburg et al v. IBM, was filed in federal court in the Northern District of California .

It involved about 32,000 current and former employees, said James M. Finberg of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP, lead attorney for the plaintiffs and class members. The employees were in two IBM job categories: technical services professional and information technology specialist.

The suit alleged that they were classified as exempt from overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act and certain state laws when they should have been nonexempt and compensated for overtime.

IBM chose to resolve the claims without admitting any wrongdoing or liability, saying that litigation would have been lengthy and expensive.

Under the terms of the settlement, subject to final approval by the court, each qualified class member will be entitled to apply for payment.

IBM established a provision for the settlement in the third quarter of this year.

Ryder to remain at RDA as adviser to new CEO

Thomas O. Ryder, chairman of Reader's Digest Association Inc., will stay on at the company through the first half of 2007 as the Chappaqua publisher is acquired by a private equity group, a Securities and Exchange Commission filing said.

Ryder, the former chief executive of the company until the start of this year, will retire as chairman and director Dec. 31 but will be a special adviser to the new chief executive following the merger. He will receive $5,000 a month and be eligible for an incentive payment of up to $500,000 for the last six months of this year. He also qualified for a $4 million severance payment.

A shareholders' vote on the acquisition of Reader's Digest by the equity group, led by Ripplewood Holdings of Manhattan , has not been set yet. Ripplewood will pay $17 a share, valuing the publisher around $1.6 billion, and will assume about $800 million in debt.

Pace, SkillPROOF release index of IT job demand

Pace University and SkillPROOF Inc. started a new quarterly index of major companies' demand for information-technology specialists. It's designed to help students choose careers, job seekers target their searches, and human-resources officers gauge emerging needs for skills and anticipate where high demand will drive up salaries, said Susan Merritt, dean of Pace's Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems in White Plains , which oversaw development of the index.

Reported by Alison Bert and Jerry Gleeson. Reach Bert at abert@lohud.com or 914-694-5085 .