If you ever wondered why corporations don’t bother to obey laws, the punishment “suffered” by California tech company Electronics for Imaging should explain why they are not at all afraid of the law.
The company got caught paying eight employees that they imported from India at the same rate they earned in India, meaning that they put in as many as 122 hours a week and were paid in Indian Rupees at a rate that works out to about $1.21 an hour.
At the time the workers were in California, the state’s minimum wage was $8 an hour and all hours over 40 per week, by law, should be paid at time and a half, another violation the company was guilty of.
The company said that it had “unintentionally overlooked” the fact that under U.S. law, all workers regardless of where they come from are subject to the same workplace regulations applying to U.S. workers and that they had given them other compensation in place of the higher wages and overtime in the form of unspecified “bonuses.”
Michael Eastwood, assistant district director for the Department of Labor said that the case was one of the worst he had ever seen, topping the abuses he had seen in southern California garment factories.
“This is worse than anything that I ever saw in any of those Los Angeles sweatshops,” Eastwood said.
Electronics for Imaging is not a high-profile tech company but it is a successful one which earned profits of $109 million last year. Its CEO, Guy Gecht was paid a compensation package of $6 million last year with a base salary and bonuses of $1.2 million. It is also a stark demonstration of the difference in what these tech companies pay here and overseas.
The punishment for this gross abuse of employees? The company will pay the employees more than $43,ooo in back wages and penalties and a fine of $3,520.
That is why our corporate “citizens,” the entities that the Roberts court has told us are “people,” disregard the law. They know that if they are caught they will walk away with a slap on the wrist and no real punishment that has meaning.