Chip giant Intel is facing a flurry of US civil charges alleging it has sexually harassed employees, engaged in racial discrimination and breached civil liberties, according to an alliance of ex-members of its staff in the US.
The group, called FACE (Former and Current Employees of Intel), said in an announcement on its Web site last week that Intel had banned its employees from accessing the site at http://www.igc.apc.org/faceintel/ after it emailed 35,000 messages to current employees.
Current legal actions against Intel include five federal cases, 28 cases in California, six in Arizona, five in New Mexico and five in Oregon. Three women, Gratchen Petty, Ann Girt and Cathy Harris, have pending sexual harassment cases. Harold White, based at Intel's Sacramento, California centre, is suing Intel on a number of counts including alleged discrimination on the grounds of race, physical disability and age.
The group claims that Intel managers approached the company's human resource department after they received emails from FACE, and were told to tell their staff: ?Please provide this coaching to employees when asked about the FACE Intel group, their email messages and Web site: Tell them that Intel believes that allegations....are totally unfounded and untrue. Also tell them that we are taking steps to block further messages and access to the FACE Intel?s Web site from Intel site.?
In further allegations, the group claims that Intel?s HR unit said that foreign-born employees get their green card and leave Intel because other companies like Sun and SGI pay around 30 per cent more. But it cites research from a University of California at Davis academic, Professor Matloff, who said average salaries for foreign-born computer professionals in Silicon Valley were $7,000 a year less than for native-born staff of the same age and education.
And in a further development, Intel told the 'New York Times' on 13 March that it had "no intention" of pressurising journalists, after a site at http://sysdoc.pair.com/ allegedly came under pressure when it wrote a negative review of the up-and-coming Intel Pentium II daughterboard.
No one at Intel was available for comment at press time.
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