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Tue Feb 5, 2013, 01:38 PM

Tech company forced to repay Mexican workers after getting caught paying them in pesos

Source: Raw Story

Tech company forced to repay Mexican workers after getting caught paying them in pesos
By Arturo Garcia
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 12:25 EST

A California tech firm that boasts Gen. Colin Powell as a board member was ordered to pay more than $60,000 in back wages and penalties after the U.S. Department of Labor found it had paid a group of tech workers from Mexico less than $3 an hour in pesos for two years.

KNTV-TV reported on Monday that Bloom Energy contracted the 14 Mexican nationals and paid them equivalent of $2.66 an hour to work on the company’s generators between November 2010 and November 2012. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

A U.S. District Court judge ordered the company to pay the group $31,922 in both back wages and damages. Bloom Energy was also fined another $6,160 in damages by the U.S. Labor Department.

Labor Department investigator Linda Blanco said the workers were surprised “because they felt that they didn’t have any protection in the United States.”


Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/02/05/tech-company-forced-to-repay-mexican-workers-after-getting-caught-paying-them-in-pesos/

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Reply Tech company forced to repay Mexican workers after getting caught paying them in pesos (Original post)
Judi Lynn Feb 2013 OP
mahatmakanejeeves Feb 2013 #1
lovuian Feb 2013 #2
Xithras Feb 2013 #3
sybylla Feb 2013 #5
albear Feb 2013 #4

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 02:02 PM

1. That's not much.

... 14 Mexican nationals ... between November 2010 and November 2012 ... pay the group $31,922 in both back wages and damages.

Ummm, $32k divided by 14 workers for work done over a period of two years = not a lot per worker.

US Labor Department investigation reveals Silicon Valley employer significantly underpaid workers from Mexico

Judge orders Bloom Energy Corp. to pay back wages, liquidated damages and penalties

SAN FRANCISCO — Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Bloom Energy Corp. has been ordered to pay $31,922 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages to 14 workers that the company brought in from Chihuahua, Mexico, to the company headquarters. A U.S. District Court judge ordered the payments after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division disclosed that the employer willfully violated the minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.


Read this news release en Español: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/whd/WHD20130137s.htm

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 02:05 PM

2. and it is why they chose to hire Mexican workers over American

so they would get around the minimum wage law

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 02:48 PM

3. My understanding was that it was an independent contractor scam.

Lots of companies bring in independent contractors to do work, and those contractors don't have to be paid minimum wage or even be paid in US dollars. Because they're contractors, they get no employee protections.

The problem, of course, is that in MANY of these situations, the workers aren't contractors at all, but are actual employees. If the employer exercises direct control over the work they are doing, they're employees. That appears to have been the case here. When someone is reclassified from a contractor to an employee by the courts, the employer is required to pay any money needed to equalize their pay and benefits with the pay and benefits received by an actual employee in that position.

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Response to Xithras (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 10:19 PM

5. Except in this case it's only equalized with minimum wage, not the wage they should be getting.

Too sad that they are getting paid such crap wages for the same work and that an American company is taking advantage of that. Not a surprise, but sad nonetheless.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 03:16 PM

4. That is really beyond effed-up'! And that company got off easy.

 

It should have been at least a million dollars fine and cancel all their contracts with the USG (if they had any).

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