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Rare Good News

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Sometimes, if you fight long and hard enough, you might win something and positive change results. At least that’s the case for 239 Citgo employees at the company’s refinery in Corpus Christi who finally won their case charging the company required unpaid labor after forcing them to brief the next shift for 15 minutes every day. Citgo now has to pay over $460,000 to those workers.

Unfortunately, in cases like this, just paying the back pay is not enough. What’s the incentive for Citgo or other companies to not exploit their workers if the downside is that someday, maybe, they might have to finally pay them. Only serious punitive damages on top of the back wages will provide any kind of meaningful incentive for corporations to treat employees with respect. At least Obama’s Labor Department is aggressively going after wage and hour violations in the oil industry, which will certainly end if a Republican wins in November.

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