Bloom Energy Fined for Paying Sunnyvale Workers in Pesos

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Bloom Energy has been fined, will pay back wages and additional money to the Mexican workers it has been underpaying. NBC Bay Area's Kris Sanchez reports from Bloom Energy headquarters. (Published Monday, Feb 4, 2013)

    Bloom Energy Corp.– best known for its fuel-cell power generator – is now known to the U.S. Department of Labor as a wage cheat.

    According to a U.S. Department of Labor investigation, Bloom Energy brought 14 Mexican nationals to Sunnyvale to help refurbish power generators. Bloom Energy then paid the workers in pesos, the equivalent of $2.66 an hour.

    “It is appalling that this was happening right in the heart of Silicon Valley, one of the wealthiest per capital areas in the U.S.,” said Ruben Rosalez of the Wage and Hour Division of the DOL.

    A U.S.  District Court judge ordered the company to pay $31,922 in back wages, and an equal amount in liquidated damages to the 14 workers from Chihuahua. The DOL also assessed $6,160 in civil money penalties against the employer.

    The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that hourly workers must be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

    Bloom Energy Corp. developed its so-called Bloom Energy Server, also known as a “Bloom Box” over nine years, with $400-million in investments. The company declined comment for this story.