Norfolk Southern Railroad Hit with 401(k) Suit

December 13, 2002 ( - Norfolk Southern Railroad is the latest in a string of American corporations to get hit with a lawsuit alleging it improperly pressured employees into investing 401(k) dollars in company stock - in this case stock that has lost almost a third of its value.

Filing the Norfolk suit was t he Pennsylvania Federation Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees union, and several plan participants, who charged that participants have lost millions of dollars in retirement savings.

The suit, which also names several Norfolk officers, alleges that the company improperly matched employee 401(k) contributions with company stock and “encouraged” workers to invest in the stock despite the fact that Norfolk stock has “performed miserably.”

In breach of their ERISA fiduciary duties, the suit alleges that the company has been trying to artificially pump up the stock through employee 401(k) participation.

According to a union announcement of the suit, Norfolk stock fell from the mid-thirties in mid-1999 to its current price of approximately $20.