This is interesting because it details a little bit of the recruiting practices of this company. I have heard about the 65,000 a year dollar number thrown around before, but I did not know that SOC was playing around with the numbers like this. Here is the quote:
Risinger, a California resident, says he was hired in 2010 to work as an armed guard at a Baghdad military base , on a 1-year assignment for a flat salary of $65,000. But when he and others arrived in Iraq, he says they were told that the salary was “calculated based upon a $17.36 hourly rate, which hourly rate would dictate class members’ actual pay based upon ‘the number of hours on your time sheet.’ At that hourly rate, without overtime, an employee would earn $36,108 a year. A worker would have to work 72 hours a week at straight time to earn $65,000 a year.
That sounds a lot like the whole ‘bait and switch game’. Meaning they recruit folks with the idea that they would get a specific amount, and then once in the war zone, they would clarify what the individual would really make. Which usually would be less money than originally offered. The IC has the option to suck it up and take the pay cut, or get on a plane and go back home. The companies usually bank on the idea that the IC will just suck it up and stay.
Although the problem with this is that usually this practice creates disgruntled workers, and with good reason. So then you have guys working the contract that could care less about doing a good job, who do not trust the company, and are doing all they can to secure another job somewhere else.
That is a horrible way to do business, and any company that thinks this is an acceptable practice is wrong. You might save a little money in the short term, but you will lose money because you have to keep hiring new guys and fly them over all of the time to deal with high attrition. Not only that, but you are in constant threat of default on contract because you have IC’s that could at any time just leave because they do not want to work for the company. You also lose out on company reputation, and you lose the most valuable asset a company could have–experienced good leaders.
Experienced good leaders are the ones that believe in the company and contract, and have stayed around long enough to know the job really well and know how to manage it. They are also good at leading people, and making sure everyone is happy and doing the job. Any company that has set up a system that does not grow and keep experienced good leaders, will certainly suffer the consequences of such poor practices.
Also, if the government was focused more on best value contracting, and stopped this practice of lowest priced technically acceptable contracting, then they could actually pick companies based on how they treat their people. A contracting officer should be able to take a look at the attrition rate of any company and ask, is this the kind of company we want protecting our camps in the war zones? And what causes such a high attrition rate within this company? Or even ask if the IC’s of that company are happy to be there and like the company they are working for? If the contracting officer is getting some intense negative feedback from a multitude of disgruntled IC’s who do not trust the company, then that might be a sign that the company is not exactly the best folks to do business with. -Matt
Edit: 01/01/2012 By the way folks, the lawyer for this particular class action is reaching out to all former or current SOC contractors and employees listed within a specific time frame. If the case is successful, then expect to get a piece of the settlement or award if you are within that group. Here is the email he was sending out.
We have brought a class action lawsuit on behalf of all SOC employees (former and current) who worked for the Company between December 19, 2009 and December 19, 2011 for unpaid wages, including overtime, rest breaks, meal breaks and possible other items like medical expenses. While the class action process can be slow, we expect to be obtaining from SOC within the next 6 months the names of all individuals that would make up the class of employees. In the meantime, I am also keeping record of all persons, like yourself, who have experienced the labor code violations we allege in the complaint so that I can cross-check the list we get from SOC with the names of the people we have been contacted by to make sure that you are included in the class and any settlement unless you choose not to be a part of it. There may come a time when I do need to get declarations from persons like you to support the case and when that happens, I will certainly reach out to you.
Scott E. Gizer- Partner Early Sullivan Wright Gizer & McRae LLP, email@example.com www.earlysullivan.com phone: 702 990 3629
Ripped Off in Iraq, Class of Guards Claims
By NICK DIVITO
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
A private security guard in Iraq says in a class action that his employer SOC Nevada made its employees work up to 12 hours a day, seven days a week, in “ultrahazardous conditions” without overtime pay or breaks. “SOC’s core mission changed from ‘Securing Our Country’ to ‘Lining Its Pockets’ when it began to recruit employees … under false promises of a fixed salary and scheduled with time off,” lead plaintiff Karl Risinger says in the complaint in Clark County Court. “[D]ue to a lack of adequate staffing driven by corporate greed,” SOC subjected its armed guards to “undue risk by jeopardizing the physical and psychological condition of the class members in the course of ultra-hazardous activities,” the complaint states.
Risinger, a California resident, says he was hired in 2010 to work as an armed guard at a Baghdad military base , on a 1-year assignment for a flat salary of $65,000. But when he and others arrived in Iraq, he says they were told that the salary was “calculated based upon a $17.36 hourly rate, which hourly rate would dictate class members’ actual pay based upon ‘the number of hours on your time sheet.'” At that hourly rate, without overtime, an employee would earn $36,108 a year. A worker would have to work 72 hours a week at straight time to earn $65,000 a year. Risinger says he was forced to work more than 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, “without meal or rest periods, and without any overtime compensation.” He claims SOC “routinely falsified employee time sheets to reflect time off when there was none and to show that plaintiff, and others similarly situated, worked only 12 hours per day when in fact they worked in excess of 12 hours each day.” SOC Inc., or “Securing Our Country,” is a Delaware corporation doing business in Washoe County, Nev. It provides worldwide security for “individuals, domestic facilities, nuclear power plants and military bases,” according to the complaint.? It recruits former military personnel and others to work as armed guards in Iraq. According to its website, “SOC is the global leader in full-service security management.” The website also features a toll-free “Ethics Help Line … that provides a confidential method to report suspected illegal or unethical behavior within the company. There will be no retributions or reprisals for reporting a suspected violation in good faith.” Risinger seeks unpaid wages, including overtime, along with penalties, interest, attorney’s fees, disgorgement or restitution, and punitive damages. He is represented by Scott E. Gizer with Earley Sullivan Wright Gizer & McRae. The defendants are SOC Inc., a Nevada corporation; SOC LLC, a Delaware LLC dba SOC Nevada.
Class action here.