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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

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Intel Corp. Marked Employees as Thieves
to Prevent Their Rehiring

Back in July 2015 Intel Corp. laid off about 1300 employees. Information gathered from the Federal Government mandated OWBPA Report, associated with this layoff, revealed that employees over 40 years of age were targeted for this layoff in a disproportionate way. At the time of the layoff the OregonLive web site produced an analysis demonstrating this fact, as shown in the chart below.

(click on image to enlarge detail)


However, under the discretion of Brian Krzanich, Intel CEO at the time, the HR department was directed to prevent any possibility of Intel Corp. managers, rehiring any of the 1300 laid off employees. Consequently, the employee records of each one of the laid-off employees, in the HR database were marked with a special code, declaring them as THIEVES.

By marking an employee record with the THIEVE code, a warning would be issued through the Intel Corp. HR database system, to any hiring manager who would examine the eligibility of an ex-employee to be re-hired. This warning would block the potential re-employment of such person, permanently. Note that the rehiring ban applied to all categories of employment: Regular Employee (Blue Badge), Contract Employee (Green Badge), Full Time, or Part Time.

We were able to interview a number of people who worked, at the relevant time, in various capacities at Intel Corp. HR and other departments. These witnesses confirmed to us that all 1300 laid-off employee records were marked with the special THIEF code, within the company's Employee Data Archive database.

Note that Intel Corp. is the largest payroll employer in Oregon and a major employer in several other states. By marking laid-off employees as THIEVES, Intel Corp. essentially wiped out a potential source of income for a significant number of people. This capricious corporate edict would persist for the rest of these affected ex-employees lifetime, unless Intel Corp. is brought to justice and the policy is consequently, reversed.

There is an open question whether a company can be disparaging a group of laid-off employees as THIEVES and get by without legal scrutiny. Clearly, such behavior is discriminatory action all by itself and a strong argument can be made that such action is intentional and criminal in nature.

We are hereby calling upon the U.S. Government, the State of Oregon Government, our U.S. Congressional delegation, the EEOC and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to inspect and seriously review the relevant Intel Corp. Employee Records and databases in order to investigate the facts stated above.

--Dr. Flywheel

Update July 13, 2019

We 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 of in front of them, on the spot.

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?

See reference #5 in the notes below.

Notes:
  1. Can you sue an Oregon employer for defamation based on a reference?
  2. If my boss recorded false statements in my personnel file, is this libel?

  3.  Flawed Separation Agreement Does Not Bar ADEA Claims :
    Every separation agreement for an employee who is age 40 or older should include an ADEA waiver and the protections required by the OWBPA. Failure to include these provisions does not necessarily make the entire agreement invalid or create a separate legal claim, but the employee will have the ability to proceed with ADEA claims against the employer despite the payment he or she has received.
  4. Wells Fargo Faces Scrutiny for Black Marks on Ex-Employee Files
  5. France Asks a Devastating Question: What Role Did Telecom Executives Play in 35 Employee Suicides?

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Eliminati meetups - May 7,8,9

Inviting both the new 2019 class, as well as older members to help mentor.

Meetups are a place to process our group experiences with leaving Intel.  We have captured many lessons on our https://pdx-tie.org website from such talks.  Come join us for a session.

May 7 - 1:00pm
Ava Roasteria - Timberland
In the Cedar Hills Market of Choice shopping center

May 8 - 6:30pm 
Hillsboro Brookwood Library
Upstairs in the conference room area

May 9 - 2:00pm
Hop Cycle Brewery, Banks Oregon
Extra parking along street or by the HW Store
(Hop Cycle is a business started by an Intel retiree)

Eliminati members in other geographies are asked to just organize and host meetups as well.