LinkedIn and the Department of Labor have reached a settlement that requires the professional social network to pay $6 million to 359 current and former employees in lost wages and damages. This comes after a DoL investigation found that LinkedIn failed to document and compensate workers for overtime hours, in a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
This is only the latest in a series of wage controversies perpetrated by Silicon Valley’s biggest tech firms, like the massive wage theft collusion scandal between Google, Apple, and others. Unlike that case, where the courts produced documents that showed Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt working with premeditation to keep wages down, there’s no evidence here to suggest that LinkedIn purposely screwed over its workers.
“This was a function of not having the right tools in place for a small subset of our sales force to track hours properly,” Shannon Stubo, LinkedIn’s vice president of corporate communications, told Reuters.
That LinkedIn likely acted without malice seems to be a view echoed by David Weil, administrator of the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division, who said LinkedIn has “shown a great deal of integrity by fully cooperating with investigators and stepping up to the plate without hesitation to help make workers whole.”
Although this is nowhere near as insidious as the “Techtopus” wage theft agreements that were covered extensively by Pando’s Mark Ames, it’s yet another example of how big tech firms, despite their lofty ideals, can be just as susceptible to running afoul of labor laws as the big decades-old incumbents. At least LinkedIn cooperated with authorities to treat its employees fairly, albeit retroactively. By contrast, Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe were fighting as late as last March to have their wage suppression suit thrown out.
And it’s a sad time in Silicon Valley if we’re more surprised when a company fesses up and makes things right than we are that they screwed workers over in the first place.