Feature

Can workers sue over losing free lunch?

And more of the week's best financial insight

Here are three of the week's top pieces of financial insight, gathered from around the web:

Work-from-home lawsuits

Employee are suing for reimbursement of work-from-home expenses, said Hugo Martín in the Los Angeles Times. California is one of several states that mandates employers pay "all necessary expenditures" for employees to perform their duties. When the pandemic hit, many companies did reimburse workers for home-office tech, such as laptops and webcams. But a Stanford study found fewer than 10 percent of employers also "reimbursed workers for costs such as new furniture or internet fees." Dozens of employee lawsuits allege that such costs can "add up to $50 to $200 a month." Several disgruntled remote workers who sued the firm Better Mortgage even complained about having to buy their own snacks and lunches, perks the company previously provided in the office.

Used-car prices rise even as sales fall

"Used-car prices appear to be stuck in high gear," said Sarah O'Brien at CNBC. In March, sales of used vehicles less than 10 years old fell 27 percent compared with a year earlier, according to car-shopping app CoPilot. Yet despite a dwindling number of buyers, prices keep rising: "The average price on those cars jumped 40 percent, to $33,653." The reason for rising prices on used cars is that "dealers continue to face low supplies of new cars" due to lingering supply chain issues caused by the global chip shortage. More shoppers have turned to used cars, but they're still not finding any bargains. Before the pandemic, "roughly 76 percent of vehicles would sell for less than $25,000. Now cars in this price range account for just 35 percent of inventory."

Sellers try to beat mortgage market

Rising mortgage rates add urgency for sellers looking to list, said Veronica Dagher in The Wall Street Journal. Applications for mortgages fell 8.48 percent in February compared with the same month last year, "an early warning sign of a damping in buyer demand." Mortgage rates have risen considerably since then, eclipsing 4.7 percent on an average 30-year fixed last week. If they keep rising, it could "price more buyers out of the market." Experts say "this is still very much a seller's market," however, "with many homes going for over the asking price and at breakneck speeds." The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas recently expressed a "growing concern that U.S. house prices are again becoming -unhinged from fundamentals."

This article was first published in the latest issue of The Week magazine. If you want to read more like it, you can try six risk-free issues of the magazine here.

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