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Saturday, August 22, 2020

Intel Corp. Executives
Shady or even Criminal Behavior

We have covered the massive age discrimination practices that resulted in forced retirements and massive layoffs of older Intel Corp. employees in 2015, 2016 and beyond. When I talk face-to-face with members of PDX-TIE.ORG or other ex-Intel employees (less frequently, due to COVID-19) I am surprised about their ignorance regarding the fact that the company is faced with so many very significant lawsuits due to various shady and perhaps criminal behavior of its senior executives and the board of directors.

From my own perspective, the 2015/2016 layoffs were the event that "broke the camel's back" and proliferated the seeds of corruption and mistrust between Intel Corp. Executive management and the remainder of employees workforce.

While the "Executive Class" at Intel Corporation looked at their bonuses and the stock market evaluation of the company as their main goal, they lost their "moral compass" to unproductive finger-pointing, coverup and greed. Make no mistake, technological challenges always abound in the engineering world. This is why people who pursue engineering as a career, typically belong to "problem Solver" personality class. The main challenge for true engineers (not "engineers" in title or even by university degree) is to get their managers to overcome their "risk aversion" and "cover your ass" attitude. Technology may be challenged by rules of physics; however, management and particularly Executive Management is challenged by human behavioral factors that are essentially all "man-made".

The old "Intel Culture" defined the path for coexistence between both "risk taking" (as in venturing to achieve extremely high goals) and "risk management" (challenging the validity of ideas based on data or provable facts through the "constructive confrontation", rules of debate). These principles were the core values of the company and enabled its workforce to great achievements, through "thick and thin", while facing both technological challenges as well as tough competition in the Semiconductor market segment.

The great principles of "Intel Culture" were eroded, slowly but surely, over a long period of time,after Andrew Grove was replaced as CEO of the company by a series of successors.

The worst Intel Corp. CEO without a doubt was Brian Krzanich (BK), who did not only violate the basic principles of "Intel Culture", but actually made a great effort to overrule and wipe it out in his zeal to receive his Executive Bonuses. It is ironic that BK was forced to resign his post as CEO, due to blatant violation of the the Employee Handbook--the same operational handbook that spelled the rules of "Intel Culture".(see: https://www.pdx-tie.org/2018/06/mf-intel-ceo-resignation-raises-more.html)

The major side effect of getting rid of experienced (and older) employees, who grew up on principles known as "Intel Culture" (attributed to ex-CEO Andrew Grove), was the erosion of the company founders values. "Intel Culture" promoted transparency and discipline from employees at all levels, including the Executives level of offices up to the CEO level.

The sudden disappearance (due to forced "early retirement" and massive layoffs) of older employees (who themselves grew up on "Intel Culture"), left  the younger generations of Intel Corp. employees, who replaced the "old timers", having to learn their way around the various company operations, on their own.

The Intel Corp. Executive Class was so detached from reality that they believed in younger replacement employees' ability to ramp-up on-their own, without the benefit of experienced employees, being around to consult and guide the newcomers (in Intel speak the "NEOs"). Apparently, these executives believed that product design engineers and Fab workers can perform their job by watching YouTube videos and sharing messages through Twitter or Facebook.

 

Over the last five years, we have seen plenty of evidence to the aftermath that was left following the 2015/2016 layoffs, as the "transparency" "Open Door" "problem ownership" and "constructive confrontation" elements of Grove's "Intel Culture" were replaced by coverup and severe suppression of facts, in addition to the fabrication of "fake news, public relations campaigns" designed to keep both company employees and stock holders, at bay.

Unfortunately, there are too many similarities of Executive Class behaviors in corporate America that are created by people whose self-interest and greed, end up working against the company's long-term interests as well as the company employees best interests.

The Boeing B737MAX program fiasco, has so many parallels to the Intel story, in terms of Corporate Executives forcing their way on their underlings by decree and without listening to employees feedback. Between the Boeing case and the Intel Corp. case there is only one exception: thus far (as far as we know) Intel Corp. actions did not result in the loss of human lives.

Currently, there are  a number of legal processes undergoing against Intel Corp., which allegedly, involve anything, from mismanagement of the old employee pension fund (that was in effect until 2009), to long-term coverup of functional "bugs" that are "featured" into the Intel chips "Architecture", to making false statement to stock holders and potential stock holders of INTC equities.

The most significant decision of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) to allow the law suite against Intel Corp. "old pension fund", originally filed in 2015 by former Intel engineer Christopher Sulyma, to proceed without delays. This should be the talk of the day. For some reason, this law suit is not getting much attention in the press.
 
Since the Sulyma Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) legal case reached the SCOTUS level of jurisdiction, it is easy to understand that Intel Corp. legal defense strategy is and has always been, based on eroding the resolve of individual plaintiffs, by resorting to legal maneuvering, stalling, and outright lying.

I believe that every current or ex-employee of Intel Corporation, as well as current or past investors of INTC shares, should follow-up on these articles:

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

For The Last Five Years
They Continue to Wish We Were Dead

Today, July 15th, 2020 marks the fifth anniversary date for the first Intel Corp. massive layoff of the 21st century. 2015 also represents the year in which Intel Corp. lost its leadership position within the semiconductor industry, due to a continuous wave of operational flops and process-engineering disasters, most of them due to bad management decisions and a rising wave of mistrust between management and employees.

Intel Corp. 2015 Layoff Action
 Age Composition of Affected Employees

Intel Corp. management, under the leadership of CEO Brian Krzanich (BK) focused on lowering the cost of labor by laying off thousands of veteran employees, instead of fixing organizational and technological issues that plagued the company for many years. The company was unable to fix its high volume production problems for chips manufactured in 14nm for more than five years. The follow-up 10nm production line never matured into commercial viability. This type of phenomenon never happened at Intel Corp. anytime in the past. Having the benefit of hindsight today, this colossal failure can clearly be attributed to the scarcity of technical and organizational leadership among the remainder of the company engineering workforce, following the 2015 and 2016 massive layoffs. Laying off more than 16,000 employees, many of them senior and very experienced, Intel Corp. replaced these employees with a cheaper and inexperienced workforce, resulting in bad employee morale, lack of trust, operational chaos and enormous lack of productivity--a great deal of which still persists inside the company to this day. In spite of external criticism of his actions, CEO Brian Krzanich continued to prove his leadership incompetence for a very costly, few more years. However, fighting reality with paid PR found its limits. Consequently, due to lack of meaningful operational results, Intel Corp. Board took action and fired BK in June 2018. To protect INTC stock value, the Board explained the firing of BK with a "Roger Stone style story" utilizing a sexy connotation that was meant to distract public attention from the incompetence of Intel Corp. C-Suite as well as the incompetence of the company Board of Directors itself. Apparently egomania and greed can never be satisfied. Even after leaving his CEO position with the company, Krazanich himself is under SEC investigation for insider trading of Intel stock. However, as we have witnessed over the last decades, U.S. Government agencies operate more like "paper tigers" than "Rambo". Rich executives can continue to live the high life as long as they pay their high hourly rate lawyers.

Ex-Intel CEO Lists Lavish Silicon Valley Compound

Intel Corp. worst legacy is still lying ahead. In its hasty effort to restructure its workforce the company laid off thousands of older workers, as well as forced many more thousands of senior employees to retire under duress. By doing so, Intel Corp. management violated the civil rights of older workers ("older workers" defined as employees who are 40 year old or older). Such workers are classified by Federal regulations as a "protected class", which requires employers to take specific actions before laying them off. The rules and regulations that protect such employees from discriminatory practices are defined in the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, otherwise known as the ADEA. Although employers are allowed to lay off older employees, the ADEA specifically requires employers to exercise special procedures to guarantee that older employees are not be discriminated against other workers while working for an employer or during the hiring and/or firing process.

dhillon_scaled
Janet Dhillon - EEOC Chair

We actually have brought forward substantial evidence that Intel Corp. knowingly violated the ADEA in many ways. Charges filed by members of our organization (PDX-TIE.ORG), with the Federal government Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 2016 are in full progress. We recently received yet another confirmation that the investigation is still in "active" state. It is already more than 4-1/2 years since our charges have been filed and the clock keeps ticking on the Federal investigation. Amazingly, Janet Dhillon, the Chair of the EEOC, appointed by President Donald Trump in May 2019, testified under oath in a hearing in front of congress:

It is the sad reality that too often, justice delayed is justice denied. Evidence can be  misplaced, and memories fade with the passage of time. The opportunity to quickly stop and remedy a discriminatory practice can also be lost – potentially to the detriment of other impacted employees. To ensure quality service, it is critical that private sector charges and federal complaints are handled promptly and fairly – and so we must work to reduce backlogs across all program offices.

Shall we take her for her word?

One of the advertised policies of the EEOC over the last few years was "working with employers", namely convince employers to police themselves, regarding discrimination in the workplace. In the words of EEOC Chair "Litigation Last". namely, avoiding law enforcement at all costs. This type of policy has been exercised extensively, by another Federal agency, the FAA. The results of such actions (or lack thereof) turned out to disastrously manifest their outcome in the Boeing 737MAX fiasco. The result of forfeiting external supervision and "letting the dogs guard the hen house" cost the lives of hundreds of innocent people and at the same time pushed the Boeing company to the brink of bankruptcy. There are very serious lessons to be learned from this story. Lack of external supervision and dereliction of duty unavoidably leads to a situation where everyone loses.

With the above being said and judging from the "snail's pace" at which justice for older employees affected by the Intel Corp. layoffs is being pursued, many of us may be dead already, before Intel Corp. is brought to justice by the Federal Government. Many of us are older and form the most vulnerable segment of the U.S. population at risk for COVID-19 severe infections and ultimately death. Clearly, the political and the corporate echelons would rather wait and see the "problem" go away, as more of our members meet their demise. With no proactive actions on the part of the U.S. Congress, and with the EEOC forfeiting their law enforcement actions, dereliction of duty continues to rule the day.

Latest unemployment Trend Charts
(click on image to enlarge)


The latest unemployment data report clearly demonstrates that the U.S. is in the middle of a major economic trough, following the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the circumstances, it is very likely that many workers will never return to their original jobs. This situation presents employers with the perfect opportunity to "weed out" their most expensive employees, which in most cases are the most senior and experienced, namely "older", replacing them with younger and certainly "cheaper" workers.

It is important to note that in most companies, older employees serve as de-facto mentors to younger and less experienced employees. The value of mentoring has been proven to be a major contributing factor to the success of business. Clearly, with proper management policies, a good balance of employee diversity is not only required by employment laws--it actually contributes to cohesion of the workforce and increased productivity.

Unfortunately and to detriment of many companies, for the average C-Suite executive, having less experienced workers does not seem be an issue of great concern. By the time that the business begins experiencing serial operational failures after getting rid of its experienced workers, the executives have already harvested their mega bonuses and pulled their "golden parachute" cords to pursue "new opportunities"...

Intel Corp. serves as a perfect example of a company that "lost its soul" due to getting rid of its "experienced" workforce, while rewarding its egocentric executives with fat monetary rewards. It may have taken five years to note the destructive effect of the 2015/2016 massive layoffs; however, it is now widely recognized that the "Intel Empire" is collapsing from the inside, due to so called "cultural" problems. (see: Intel’s Culture Needed Fixing. Its C.E.O. Is Shaking Things Up. Robert Swan, who leads the world’s biggest chip maker, is pushing his 110,000 employees to confront internal problems more openly).

During these days when the world is facing a major pandemic, it may be convenient to ignore problems that could have made headlines in the past. However, it is futile to deny the demographic trends in the U.S., which clearly show the working population is getting significantly older.

Workforce-age Group Composition
(click on image to enlarge)

Remember what we said earlier in this article about the ADEA defining older workers as those who are 40+ years of age? Well, if this fact eludes you for one reason or the other, Millennials, namely people who were born between 1980 and 2000 are in the process of entering this class of "older" workers. People who were born in 1980 are already 40 years old! Having the largest representation in the current workforce, Millennials have every reason to be concerned about age discrimination in the work place. Seeing your chances of keeping a well-paying job diminish as you cross the "magic 40" line, could be a nightmare come to life unless corporate greed, with its insatiable appetite for cheapening the cost of labor is met with effective enforcement of laws that have been written to serve the public, as opposed to serving the corporate world.


It is unnerving to think that the U.S. economy can continue to function by the rules of the corporate world with automation and major layoffs producing whopper bonuses to enrich the few individuals sitting in corporate C-Suite roles while denying the actual workers from the ability to maintain sustainable living wages. What are we going to do with people in the 40s, 50s, and 60s who can no longer find a decent-paying job? It is time to recognize that "older" is a relative term and that term applies to every single person throughout their lives. There is no cure for aging unless jumping from a tall bridge is your favorite hobby. One day the other guy is "old" and on the next day you are "the other guy".

Achieving equal rights for women is getting a new life in the political arena, particularly when it involves equal pay for equal labor.  However, very few proponents of women's rights acknowledge the fact that "older" women bear much harsher treatment from employers due to age discrimination than men of similar age. The MeToo movement made remarkable progress to expose and (hopefully) curtail sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Maybe it is time to up the ante, use the momentum and declare the birth of the "Me-Three" (Me-3.00) movement to fight rampant age discrimination for women.

It is an "open secret" that Corporate America is in charge of the country, at least for the last 40 years. We have the "best politicians that money can buy", regardless of their political party affiliation. The current political system is totally fueled by money, which it seems to guzzle at an alarmingly high rate. Although we have a President who seems to continuously make the wrong choices and then cover up in order to save face, both houses of the U.S. Congress are stuffed with people of similar ego maniacal core. Congress and the U.S Senate are stuffed to the gills with recycled politicians who obey the wills of their donors, as opposed to the wishes of their constituents. This situation is hard to explain, since most voters do not identify with either the RNC or the DNC propaganda. Gallup polls conducted frequently over the last few years consistently indicate that there are many more "independent" voters than voters that identify themselves with either "R" or "D". The latest poll conducted during the first week of June indicates that independent voters amount to 40% of the voting population as opposed to 25% Republicans and 31% Democrats. To the best of my visibility, most people are more motivated to vote "against" a particular political candidate than "for" an alternative candidate. With this type of voters' psychosis, it is no wonder that the whole country is falling apart at the seams and what unifies us as voters are our differences...



While disaffection with both of the major parties has been rampant, attempts at creating a significant third party that could act as a tie-breaker in both houses of Congress have not been successful thus far. The political system is essentially rigged by the current players to prevent newcomers from taking political power from the entrenched establishment. As much as I would like to see a large "Independent Party" taking place in U.S. politics, it is difficult to imagine that such a phenomenon would come to life, absent a major long-term crisis. While the COVID-19 pandemic could potentially extend into a full blown existential crisis, most of the American public still believes that full recovery is a matter of a year or two. Throughout history this type of apathetic shortsightedness has always been the "Achilles Heel" of the plebiscite.

In reality, elected politicians must be "supervised" on a continuous basis. The power of money, concentrated in Washington D.C. lobbying firms, can be defeated by voting constituents continuously checking their representatives' actions by looking at their records and responding by sending feedback messages to these Reps.

Calling politicians' bluffs does not need to wait for the next elections cycle. The Internet provides access to most Congressional records and it is too bad that most people do not care to read these records to enlighten themselves. We all carry responsibility to manage our Reps, since otherwise, the money'ed interests in D.C. remain the only entities that interact with them. While big demonstrations in the streets have a significant "splash factor", such events tend to fizzle quite quickly. Generally, politicians have short attention span. In the absence of continuous follow-up on the cause, our politicians will not change their behavior, since most of them depend on money to retain their seat and the money supply is still concentrated in the hands of the "one-percenters" and the big corporate interests.

Take charge and call on your elected representative today! Tell them what you really care about.

Stay healthy and all the best!

--Dr.Flywheel

References:
 


Thursday, December 12, 2019

Intel Corp. - Is That “Mea Culpa”?

Mea culpa is a Latin phrase that means "through my fault" and is an acknowledgement of having done wrong. 
 (source: Wikipedia)

It is not unusual for criminals caught in the act by law enforcement to plead guilty to a lesser charge in order to cut a deal that (they hope) will reduce the impact of their sentencing. Usually such “deals” are cut during the period of time when an active investigation by law enforcement is taking place and prior to public filing of the official charges in court.


It is no surprise at all that Intel Corp. decided to expose their EEO-1 data for the years 2017-2018 to public view, attempting to create the impression of being a “cooperative good citizen”. See: Intel 2017-2018 EEO-1 Report


Interestingly, Intel Corp. own official published report demonstrates staggering lack of equality or diversity within the company’s workforce composition. Check out this Bloomberg article for a summary of the Intel Corp. EEO-1 reports data: Intel Is First to Share Detailed Pay Disparities. It’s Not Flattering...


The Bloomberg article notes:
Among 52 top executives at Intel, who all earn more than $208,000—the top pay band the EEOC tracks—29 are white men, 11 are Asian men and 8 are white women. The remaining tally is 1 each for Asian women, Hispanic women, black women and black men, with no Hispanic men among executives in that top tier.


The same article goes to say:
The ratio was similarly skewed across manager, professional and technician job classifications, with white and Asian men dominating top pay groups and women and people of color clustered in the lower bands. One in four white men at Intel are in the top salary tier, earning at least $208,000, a higher share than any other group. Rates are far lower for women and underrepresented minorities; less than 10% of black employees are top earners.

The immediate questions that come to mind are:
  1. What drives Intel Corp. to expose to the public, information that it must report only to the EEOC, and why right now?
  2. What is the overwhelming factor that drives Intel Corp. to seemingly admit to fault in public?
The timing question could be explained by the fact that details about the EEOC investigations of Intel Corp. age discrimination practices indicate the investigation is coming to a head. Interestingly, Intel Corp. public exposure of their EEO-1 reports, came out only two days after Mike Rogoway of the Oregonian news outlet published an article in the Sunday edition of the paper entitled: Age discrimination: Intel investigation drags on for years, worker protections lag. In his article, Rogoway spells quite clearly that the multi-year investigation of rampant employee age discrimination practices exercised by Intel Corp. is in full force.

Under the latest circumstances, it is clear that Intel Corp. exposure of its blatant lack of diversity is not happening in vacuum. It is well known by now that the company is undergoing federal investigation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for gross violations of federal employment laws, more specifically, for massive age discrimination targeting a large number of its older employees. Since the company laid off more than 17,000 employees over the last four years, mostly during 2015 and 2016, and since many of these employees were not women or minorities, Intel Corp. pretends that laying off older employees was done to balance the lopsided composition of its workforce. In reality, the EEO-1 reports show very little change and a clear discrimination of women and minorities compensation basis. It is interesting to note that the EEO-1 reports do not require data aggregation on the basis of age, while they do include gender and minority attributes. It is likely that aggregation by age and year-to-year comparison of the reports would have revealed a clear trend of replacing older employees with younger employees. On the other hand, when the EEOC investigates the company, they can find the age aggregation numbers if they wish to do so. I will be surprised if the investigators did not collect this information.

When examining Intel Corp. seemingly “unusual” action of exposing the EEO-1 aggregated reports for 2017-2018, we must consider two important points:

  1. The type of violations reflected through the EEO-1 reports carry hardly any legal liability for the company and can be relatively easily deflected as “unfortunate” and non-intentional by the company defense attorneys.
  2. Unlike the violations exposed through the EEO-1 reports, Intel Corp. exercising massive age discrimination violations in the employee layoff cycles of 2015 and 2016, do confer significant legal liability and represent potential heavy financial cost to the company, once taken to court.
The results of the active EEOC age discrimination investigation have not been published yet, so it makes sense that potential charges officially filed against Intel Corp. by the EEOC will be far more severe than what the company is willing to admit to publicly. Under these circumstances, it can be understood that Intel Corp., portraying itself to be a cooperative “good citizen” by declaring “mea culpa” to lesser charges, is making a bet to lessen the public opinion impact (and perhaps also the court sentencing) associated with the company’s blatantly illegal practices.

On this website, we reported that in 2015, Intel Corp. deliberately (and criminally) marked the personnel records of more than a thousand employees as “thieves”. They took this radical step to simply block the possibility of any one of these laid off employees from being rehired. See: Intel Corp. Marked Employees as Thieves to Prevent Their Rehiring.


We also reported that Intel Corp. deployed armed guards to coerce employees who were laid off in 2016 to sign documents, relinquishing their rights for legal recourse against their employer. See: Armed Guards Were Used to Coerce Laid-off Intel Corp. Employees in 2016


Note that all the information that we reported was volunteered by Intel Corp. employees and ex-employees who held key positions at the company over the course of several years and had access to inside information at the relevant time. The EEOC was presented with this information in a timely manner and their investigators were invited to interview our witnesses during the course of their ongoing investigation.





Unfortunately, there is a growing trend over the last two decades for our government agencies to bail out of their oversight and inspection responsibilities and let large companies regulate and audit themselves. Relying on “
foxes to guard the hen-house” may work very well to advance the interests of “big business”; however, such dereliction of duty on the part of government agencies does not serve the interests of the citizenry. Typically, large companies can get by and continue to behave badly with lack of external supervision, until something bad happens and the “shit hits the fan”. A case in point is the recently exposed failure of the FAA to supervise the qualification of the Boeing 737-MAX airplane. Self-policing of the B737-MAX airworthiness qualification saved Boeing a lot of money and allowed the company to shorten time to market for their product. However, it took the tragic loss of many lives to expose the systematic distortions and criminal neglect that was exercised in the process of self-policing.


Both the FAA and EEOC are U.S. Government agencies that operate with a great deal of autonomy and have a clear mandate to serve the American People and not the corporations. When such agencies get caught “sleeping at the helm” and letting the “
fox guard the hen-house”, the U.S. Congress must forcefully intervene to correct the behavior of the agencies, before a major disaster happens.

Though no smoldering wreckage and charred bodies can be shown on TV, systemic exclusion of older workers from the American workforce through massive layoffs and almost non-existent law enforcement against age discrimination, is an extremely destructive practice. We are going to witness the long-term economic ill effects of such discrimination in the coming years and the cumulative damages are far-reaching and even fatal to the millions of people affected by premature forced retirement and long-term unemployment.


Additional References:

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Dr. Flywheel "Wisdom on The Fly"
On The 7th Rule of Successful Consulting

The 7th Rule of Successful Consulting
"The Early Bird Gets The Worm; However, The Second Mouse Gets the Cheese"

During my long and diverse consulting career, I learned that my ability to produce good and effective results for my clients increased by a long shot, if my predecessor on the job was fired for lack of perceived meaningful progress. "Lack of progress" was of course, always presented from the client's point of view.

However, my own post-mortem analysis of the situation indicated that almost without exception, the client was at fault for hiring my predecessor on the basis of low hourly rate, rather than on the basis of their qualifications and match for the required job outcome. In the real world, you typically get what you pay for.

--Dr. Flywheel

References:

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Armed Guards Were Used to Coerce Laid-off
Intel Corp. Employees in 2016

Forcing employees to quit on their own or in some cases, take forced retirement under terms, unilaterally dictated to benefit the corporation, seems to be standard practice in the corporate world. 

PDX-TIE.ORG interviewed a number of people who testified that uniformed armed guards hired by Intel Corp. management, were in full view, as part of a psychological move by the company to coerce laid off employees to sign the separation agreement that was laid on the table in front of them, during the 2016 major employee layoff period.


According to these witnesses, employees were, unexpectedly called, one-by-one, to a room where they were notified that their employment with Intel Corp. is terminated immediately. Most people were immediately stripped off of their company ID badge and their laptops were confiscated during the same session. Following the termination statement subject employees were given an explicit choice to either get out of the door with minimal severance pay or sign the severance agreement that was laid out on the table in front of them. Some witnesses, claimed that they were so shocked by the circumstances and particularly by the full view of armed guards in the vicinity of the "execution" rooms that they felt like hostages and actually experienced a "Stockholm Syndrome".

Many laid-off employees claimed, after the fact, that they signed the separation agreement without being able to comprehend the document content in sound mind, due to the psychological pressure that they experienced during the reign of Brian Krzanich as CEO of Intel Corp. Some ex-employees claim that the presence of armed guards a few feet away from them, during the firing session, in addition to the psychological shock of suddenly losing their job, drove them into deep personal depression and continued insecurity for a long time, after their last day of employment.

Apparently psychological coercion of employees is a common method used by corporations to get rid of employees with minimal backlash to corporate management. A recent court trial in France, involving Orange S.A. (formerly French Telecom) reveals that corporate management came up with an "innovative way" to reduce their workforce while minimizing public backlash to the company due to major layoffs. As Fortune Magazine reports:

In 2008 and 2009, dozens of employees of France Telecom took their own lives or attempted suicide amid a massive restructuring at the company. A 52-year-old technician who killed himself in July 2009 described the situation as “management by terror” in his suicide note. Starting this week, six former executives, one current exec, and the company itself—now known as Orange SA (ORAN)—are in court to face a devastating question: What role did they play in 35 employee suicides?

In a previous article we discussed the manner in which Intel Corp., under the leadership of Brian Krzanich as CEO, marked the personnel files of about 1300 laid-off employees as THIEVES, in order to prevent them from being rehired by the company for the rest of their lifetime. We know that Intel Corp. has chosen to mark such a large group of employees as THIEVES for nefarious reason that served the narrow interests of the CEO, the Board and a few company executives. We do not contest the right of companies to lay off their employees within the boundaries of the law and for sound business reasons. However, when the official records of the 2015 and 2016 layoff rounds clearly demonstrated disproportionate age-based discrimination, we expect the Federal and State governments to step in vigorously and enforce the relevant workers civil rights laws.

With the additional recent revelations regarding the coercive tactics that Intel Corp. executives used to implement the layoffs, including the threatening deployment of armed guards and marking personnel files with false information in order to block people from being rehired by the company, the American Public must pay close attention to the severe deterioration in corporate behavior.

The question remains, how long can corporations continue to use dubious unethical tactics to serve the narrow interests of a few executives and in addition, continue practicing age-discrimination at large, without any penalties imposed upon such behavior.

Blocking the rehiring of former employees by a company represents a practice that is completely incompatible with the  "Equal Employment Opportunity" laws of the U.S. This practice is particularly insidious when such employees are labeled as THIEVES, without proven legal cause.

It is the responsibility of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to take corporate systemic violations of this kind very seriously. They must prosecute law violators to the utmost degree possible, before tragic and violent circumstances, like the ones associated with the France Telecom case become news of the day in the U.S.

--Dr. Flywheel

References:

  1. Intel Corp. Marked Employees as Thieves to Prevent Their Rehiring
  2. France Asks a Devastating Question: What Role Did Telecom Executives Play in 35 Employee Suicides?
  3. France Telecom suicides: Prosecutor calls for bullying trial
  4. Stockholm syndrome