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FiveFingerDiscount.com? 418

Posted by michael
from the liquid-assets dept.
phillippaxton writes: "According to this link, dot-bomb victims are creating their own severance packages, no doubt walking away with the typical office tchotchkes (staplers, tape dispensers, etc.) but also big ticket items such as plush furniture, copiers, high-powered network servers, etc. One anecdote cites someone who lifted $445,549 of equipment, then tried to sell it on eBay as a company liquidating their assets." On the other hand, the fact that it's illegal to stiff your employees out of wages due them, even in a bankruptcy, isn't mentioned in the article...
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FiveFingerDiscount.com?

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  • Possibly a Caddy SUV. 'nough said. :)
  • by Master_Ruthless (89957) on Tuesday September 25, 2001 @09:02AM (#2346099)
    "Ex-employees thought they were entitled to it,"

    Yeah, heaven forbid that these geeks, after putting in 80 hour weeks, would feel they're entitled to anything other than an asskick out the door- far more important that some grasping VC gets .04% of his bad investment back after the fire sale...
    • by Lizard_King (149713) on Tuesday September 25, 2001 @09:31AM (#2346222) Journal
      heaven forbid that these geeks, after putting in 80 hour weeks, would feel they're entitled to anything other than an asskick out the door

      A zealous opinion indeed. In fact, when I first read the article, I wholeheartedly agreed with you. Once I got over the emotional charge and saw the situation from a rational perspective it became very simple: These employees don't own this equipment, period. This is the only conceivable arguement. You have to remember that these geeks are getting paid for their 80 hour weeks. They are not entitled to the equipment that their employers paid for.
      • by kin_korn_karn (466864) on Tuesday September 25, 2001 @09:51AM (#2346313) Homepage
        ah, but they DIDN'T get paid.

        I went through this at a dot-bomb. We got paid monthly and the last month, we didn't. Our VC (Andy Evans, the dirtiest son of a bitch alive) did some corporate paper tricks to make it so that the company didn't have any assets, so there was no recourse for us. He effectively got out of
        paying 30 people with a totally clean nose.

        So, we took the equipment, to make up for our lost wages. I feel that I'm more than justified, because

        a) this company OWNED the equipment I took [which was much less than other people took - I didn't even take my laptop] and
        b) you don't not pay me. Period.

        There are few judges that are going to throw the book at you for just keeping the gear unless you attempt to do something fraudulent with it later. And furthermore, it's just the right thing to do, all you Kohlberg-4 "I'm scared of the law" 'people' notwithstanding.
        • and here are the morons trying to explain why the
          employees feel okay about absconding with equipment:

          "They may have difficulty blaming themselves
          when they get laid off, so they direct their
          anguish at the company."


          uh, yeah. earth to psychologists: the people
          getting escorted to the dot-com's door rarely have
          anything to blame THEMSELVES for, and frequently have their
          lying, hot-air-blowing dot-com execs to blame for
          MOST of their turmoil.

          raise your hand of you've heard this one:

          "I know it may seem ridiculous today that you're working
          80 hours a week for 40 hours' pay, but won't you be
          loving life when those options pay off???"


          yeeeah buddy...
        • I don't know what the law says in the States, but in Canada if you are owed wages, the directors of the company are still liable, even after bankruptcy, and the powers that be (Labour Relations etc.) will conduct forensic audits and go after personal assets of the directors to recover your wages. They even have the power examine and negate transfers of property that are done with the express purpose of hiding financial assets. So if your shyster VC had put his property in his kid's name or set up a shell company, it wouldn't "protect" him and you would still get paid. It takes a while and you have to make some noise, but the only way you won't get paid is if there really are no assets left to seize.
          • Yeah...but if they pay off legitimate debts, like the telco provider and the hardware vendor and the building lease-holder and the bank, there's not much you can do. Naturally, the VCs in this case know they'll have to do business with all those people again, but employees are just so much garbage...
            • by nlvp (115149)
              I don't know if it is the same in Canada, but in the UK, you don't get to choose what order you pay people in, the law covering liquidation of insolvent businesses states what order creditors come in, and employees are not at the top of the list (although they still come before shareholders).


              The law very clearly states that you liquidate all assets (including laptops etc) at the best price you can get within a short timeframe, and you pay the creditors off in the order stipulated by the law.


              If an employee is stealing goods from a bankrupt company, they are not stealing from the shareholders or from the VC, but from the creditors that came before them (unless the VC's investment is in the form of cash debt as opposed to equity, at which point he will have a higher position in the payment order).


              There are very sound financial reasons for why this order of payment is considered right. Primarily because if you ask someone to take a purely financial risk in a business (ie Debt but no say in the running of the company or selling them goods or services on credit), then a failure to ensure that they get their money back early within the framework of a liquidation, will make them unwilling to finance this kind of investment in the first place.


              Dot coms were not the victim, by and large, of bad management. They were based on poor investment in the first place as their assumptions about market size were over-reaching from the very beginning. People who chose to dump promising careers in established industry, or chose to not go into those industries in the first place because they thought they could make more money in the dot-com sector, were taking exactly the same risk as equity holders. The equity holders still got paid less at liquidation than employees (equity holders come last in the list). When someone joins a company with a screwed up business model, they are choosing to enter into a risk, and have their eyes wide open. When the company fails, they get paid AFTER the liquidator and the creditors. In a company whose main asset is a "good" idea, there's no way the equipment is even going to be enough to pay off the creditors, so it's unsurprising that a number of employees have received less than (sometimes none of) the amounts outstanding to them. This always happens in liquidations, but you don't always hear of people walking off with the furniture. I don't see why any exception should be made in judging the behaviour of dot com employees when they take things that do not belong to them.


              It's a sad fact of life that when a business fails, not everyone who is owed money gets paid as there isn't enough money in the bank to pay them. Being dishonest by trying to jump the queue when it's not your right is morally ambiguous at best, and criminal at worst.


              To the poster who said his VC screwed around with the assets and somehow clawed cash back - I'm not condoning the VC doing anything illegal/immoral either, so I can't comment on that, although if the VC was an equity holder, I don't see how that would allow them to get money back, unless the rules are very different there.

        • I've heard stories about Evans that'd probably even make *your* skin crawl. Last year, Envision was trying to buy PureEdge, a reasonably successful XML-based software company here in my hometown. They were doing this only three months before Envision went belly-up...and while Envision was being sued for steling trade secrets on the pretext of due diligence while looking to buy a company.

          Yet, they'd convinced the owners and staff for considrable time that they were a great company with a future. When I tried pointing out Envision's problems and Evans' background to friends of mine at PureEdge, I was viewed as someone with an axe to grind against *both* companies (when all I wanted to do was to sound the klaxons -- last thing I want is to see my friends out of work).

          The guy has both fraud and securities fraud convictions on his record. He's bad news. I don't blame you, even a little bit, for taking what you could.
    • Yeah, heaven forbid that these geeks, after putting in 80 hour weeks, would feel they're entitled to anything other than an asskick out the door- far more important that some grasping VC gets .04% of his bad investment back after the fire sale...

      There was that article on F**cked Company and here on Slash about the guy who sent out the memo detailing his rage at people who were only putting in 40 hrs a week on the job. (can't find the link quickly, but I remember it)

      How many weeks can you run at 80+ hourd a week before you start to burn out? even if you have been sold on that dream of the company going big?

      Reminds me of one gal I know who was hired at a company at big bucks, and went max out for the first month or so. When she cut back to more human levels of effort, people had gotten used to her level of production, and had started to depend on it. This was not a good thing.

      So some companies can also get used to people producing at maxed out levels of production. This is not a good thing.

      So I can understand people making the justifications they do. But it was sort of a trap of the spirit, baited with greed. Once you are in the trap, it is hard to find a way out, even if you wanted to.

      • by ben_ (30741) on Tuesday September 25, 2001 @10:26AM (#2346540)
        An axiom that a friend of mine coined, that I've always liked:

        Heroic effort is not a sustainable business strategy.

        Burn out your best people and you'll crash the company.
      • Death March Projects (Score:5, Interesting)

        by scoove (71173) on Tuesday September 25, 2001 @10:37AM (#2346598)
        So some companies can also get used to people producing at maxed out levels of production.

        I just came out of a Death March culture/company. 2.8 years of ever increasing fantasy expectations (what they wanted us to do) combined with ever decreasing fulfillment of contractual obligations (what they did with respect to their contracts to their employees).

        Vacation became regarded early on as "theft from the company" - and was denied. Taking a sick day was regarded with significant suspicion.

        Performance incentives (rewards for completing impossible death march projects) were tossed out - and amazingly, the teams would nail them. At the last second, the company's controller would interfer with one of the last steps (like authorizing a leased line to be ordered) and wala... the team would miss the deadline by hours and lose the bonus. Typical 'Lucy taking the football away' behavior.

        Then salaries were reduced by 25% "to make the business plan look better to investors" (while senior management still drove leased bullet-proof mercedes, lotuses, ferarris and such) with the 25% to be paid at year end as a balloon payment (don't ever try this, friends!). Except guess what never showed up at year end? Then that was used to string you along to stay at the company - sort of a reverse option: "Quit and you'll never see the $50K+ we owe you!"

        Then payroll started slipping. Most of the sane left then. Those who stayed worked for several months without paychecks - buying the promises of great riches. They got booted finally - firing the entire technology office in another part of the country without leaving anyone to control the assets. Their plan? Threaten the just-fired employees to work for free and inventory and package up the goods for shipping, or be accused of stealing anything that goes missing. "If you don't come in next week and ship it to us and something is missing, you know who the investigators will believe kept it."

        Many of the former employees held onto items for collateral. Can you blame them? "Pay up the cash you owe and we'll release the equipment back to you." In the various colo centers the company used, the colo venders are using the same approach with respect to getting the past-due bills paid: pay us and we release your equipment.

        So what's wrong with this?

        *scoove*
    • by Rogerborg (306625) on Tuesday September 25, 2001 @10:23AM (#2346522) Homepage
      • Yeah, heaven forbid that these geeks, after putting in 80 hour weeks, would feel they're entitled to anything other than an asskick out the door

      Hear hear. As long as you're sure that your employer actually owns the equipment, and that you're not going to get paid what you're owed or have been promised (written or verbal, and your immediate boss does in fact represent the company, so her bullshit promises are binding*), then I have no problem with swiping hardware.

      The way that I'd prefer to do it is to agree to take hardware at a reasonable price, below retail but way above fire sale, in lieu of wages, bonuses or benefits. But I have no illusions that the survivors in my company will have the basic shred of common sense to agree to that, as they refuse to do it right now for obsoleted hardware. It's (confidentially expressed) company policy to retire hardware through theft, as it's easier than selling it on to employees!

      This isn't an abstract issue for me. It looks like my reward for finishing my current project will be to have my office closed as being surplus to requirements. We're already training our (younger, cheaper, more gullible) replacements. Meanwhile, management exhorts us to work harder to deal with the problems of moving more and move responsibility and control to the parent office. People are putting in 80 hour weeks, and many of them are in denial that we're going to get cut. The decision will be made by accountants in a board room 3000 miles away, and it won't involve anyone we can impress with our hard work and dedication. This isn't a dot-com, it's an established tech company that's screwed up big time and has grasped further than it can reach.

      My response? Work the 40 hours a week that I'm paid for, goof and surf for 20, and keep track of where the good toys are, for when the "We regret to inform you" announcement comes. While everyone else is wailing and gnashing in betrayed anguish, I'll be slipping a Sony Viao and hard drive into the bag I keep ready under my desk, then I'll scoop up a flat panel monitor and an 802.11b access point while I wait for the 200 copies of my resume to finish printing**.

      I have no illusions that this is theft. But, you know what? I really don't give a fuck. I trusted my employer, and they've already screwed me over with impossible demands, tortuous contracts, and farcically worthless stock options. If they make the final betrayal, I'll loot the office without hesitation then sleep very soundly in my bed, believe me.

      * I live in a jurisdiction where verbal contracts are legally binding. You should try it, it's very refreshing.

      ** If you think this is the actual list, or that I'm going to store my loot anywhere findable, dream on. Find another point of idiocy to deride.

      • Come on folks, a crime is a crime. It doesn't matter if you work 20 hours a week or 100 hours a week - and all you fuckers spend at least 70 of those 100 hours surfing the web, so don't bother with the "I work all the time" argument.

        As for people feeling "cheated" about their options and pay - well, guess what, you entered into that employment voluntarily. If after twleve months you feel the deal was not equitable, you are a moron for having ever entered in it, plain and simple.

        You are the master of your fate you amoral fuckers. Just because life hands you a lemon, you don't get a blank check to commit theft.

        • >>As for people feeling "cheated" about their options and pay - well, guess what, you entered into that employment voluntarily.

          They entered into an agreement to get paid. The other isn't carrying through with their agreement. They have a right to feel cheated.
          • all you fuckers spend at least 70 of those 100 hours surfing the web

          20 out of 60. And I do put in the hours I'm contracted for, and agree that the bastards sitting doing nothing, waiting and hoping for a severance package, are screwing the company right now. I'm going to be a model employee until I'm no longer an employee.

          • As for people feeling "cheated" about their options and pay - well, guess what, you entered into that employment voluntarily. If after twleve months you feel the deal was not equitable, you are a moron for having ever entered in it, plain and simple.

          Yes, because it's always that black and white. I have a mortgage to pay, and my contract has turned from "We love you" to "You're lucky to be allowed to work here" in a series of revisions over the years, each one of which, taken in isolation, wasn't quite enough to prompt me to start the interview round, screw with my pension, admit that my stock options were worthless... I'm not a moron, I'm a spineless wimp. Get it right.

          • You are the master of your fate you amoral fuckers. Just because life hands you a lemon, you don't get a blank check to commit theft

          Again, get your insults straight. I'm immoral, not amoral. I know fine well that it's wrong to steal, but I've make a conscious decision to do it anyway.

          If, and here's the bit you're missing, if I'm pushed to it. Wait until you're in this situation (bent over a desk, taking it up the rear every day with the justification "Because we can") then see if it's as easy to decide right from wrong.

    • When I got laid off from a dot-bomb, I didn't take anything, but that's also because I was paid for what I expected to be paid for, and was given a few months pay for severance.

      If your employer pulls the ever famous 'WHOOPS, you just worked for free' bit, and skips out on the check, I really don't see what is morally wrong with taking assets equal to the value of what's owed you. After all, what you're doing is saving the company the overhead of having to deal with an asset management Company to find the money with which to pay you.

  • by adaking (158188)
    It sounds like the insurance companies are as bad as the people stealing the stuff to begin with. It's not theft if your employees steal from you?

    If anyone knows where I can get an Aeron cheap though, let me know... ;)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    When a startup that my company was financing went under, my department laid claim to the computers. So two guys from here went over there and began loading up the truck. During their last run they put the remaining monitors on those nice chairs (what are they called? aeron?) and wheeled the whole thing out to the truck. When they walked back in to say "All set, we're taking off" the beancounter in charge of the operation said "You're gonna bring back those chairs, right?" D'oh.
  • Sign of the times. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday September 25, 2001 @09:04AM (#2346112) Homepage
    First off while it's wrong to stiff your employees, stealing equipment is just plain thievery. The people that do this are just untrustworthy thieves and the company should have done a better background check to begin with. I can see someone swiping a pen or a blank CD that they burned at work or even postage on the postage machine. These little things are expected by management in the day to day operation. But walking off with a load balancer or ML530 server, or color laser printer? Unbelieveable.

    • Yes, it's illegal. But when you're a parent on a fixed budget trying to take care of your kids, and your company decides not to pay you for your last two weeks of work, what do you do? Do you sit there and take it up the ass? Or do you figure out a way to make money?

      I'm sorry, but if a company fucked me over by not giving me my paycheck, and not offering an explanation, things are either going to start disappearing from the office, or servers and networks are going to begin to go down, consistently.

      First you turn the other cheek, if they continue, then it's an eye for an eye; that's just how the world turns.
      • "I'm sorry, but if a company fucked me over by not giving me my paycheck, and not offering an explanation, things are either going to start disappearing from the office,"

        However, if the company's going under anyway, then all you're really doing is stealing for the company's other creditors (including the other employees), rather than from the company itself. Also, I suggest you RTFA with regard to the leasing company issue -- in many cases, you're just stealing from the company that leased the item to your company.

    • Spoken like someone that has never been screwed out of a month's pay....or more.
    • The people that do this are just untrustworthy thieves and the company should have done a better background check to begin with.

      Likewise, the employees should have done a background check on the company before doing work without getting paid first. By working in that manner, you're granting the company credit, so you better check its credit rating.

  • by Evro (18923) <evandhoffman@NoSpAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday September 25, 2001 @09:05AM (#2346114) Homepage Journal
    the fact that it's illegal to stiff your employees out of wages due them, even in a bankruptcy, isn't mentioned in the article...

    I have been a victim of this, and am owed approximately $7500 by my former employer, who one day decided not to pay anyone (not lay us off, just not pay us; then offered no explanation for two weeks). Does anybody know what recourse there is for people like me to get the money owed them? And what to do if the corporation for which you worked is dissolved? Can you go after the assets of the CEO and/or other executives? How? Through the Department of Labor (this is New York state) or through a private attorney? What has worked for people in the past?
    • by tmark (230091) on Tuesday September 25, 2001 @09:22AM (#2346185)
      Does anybody know what recourse there is for people like me to get the money owed them?

      You go after them in bankruptcy court. Michael's intimation that somehow the employees' theivery is justified in these situations is just so stupid it makes me sick.

      As for whether or not you can go after the assets of the CEOs, I believe you cannot. IANAL, but as I understood it companies are structured to protect the shareholders and executives from the creditors of the company. Now, if some of them were personally negligent, this might be different, but problems arising from their actions as executives of the company are probably not actionable.
      • Michael's intimation that somehow the employees' theivery is justified in these situations is just so stupid it makes me sick.

        Yet, the fact that the companies had the employees work basically for free without, you know, saying "Hey, it's highly unlikely that you'll ever see the pay for that" doesn't make you sick at all?

        • Yet, the fact that the companies had the employees work basically for free without, you know, saying "Hey, it's highly unlikely that you'll ever see the pay for that" doesn't make you sick at all?


          It doesn't make me sick. I sympathize with the employees, and they should do all they can *within the law* to seek remedy, but this is the way business works. *Individuals* declare bankruptcy all the time, leaving their creditors out to dry; does that make you sick ? Would you argue it was OK for the creditors to sneak into their house and steal the individual's belongings ?

          When I worked for a dot-com-wannabe years ago, I had a problem with a pay check that kept bouncing. For a few days management was explaining this as being due to various sundry problems that were all, of course, the bank's fault. Finally I walked into the CEO's office and told him that I needed my money and that if I didn't receive it there would be a problem. We both understood this to mean I would not work anymore until I was paid what I was owed. I received a personal check the next day. My point is, I can't feel *too much* sympathy for employees who let their company get too far in arrears.


          And as for your own justification of the theivery, I have a hard time imagining that any of these employees were *quite* stupid enough to be owed so much money that they could 'justify' stealing some of the larger-ticket items described in the article.

          • My point is, I can't feel *too much* sympathy for employees who let their company get too far in arrears.

            In the majority of cases I've heard of, the employees who are getting the kick in the ass of no pay aren't the ones making the half-assed command decisions that put the company in the toliet in the first place.

            And as for your own justification of the theivery

            Uh... where in my previous post did I justify the theivery as the "right" thing to do? I don't think that it's morally or legally the right thing to do, but to paraphrase Chris Rock "I'm not saying they should of stole that stuff.... but I understand!"

          • It doesn't make me sick. I sympathize with the employees, and they should do all they can *within the law* to seek remedy, but this is the way business works. *Individuals* declare bankruptcy all the time, leaving their creditors out to dry; does that make you sick ? Would you argue it was OK for the creditors to sneak into their house and steal the individual's belongings ?

            Yes. They do that. They're called estate sales. They take everything in your house/apartment, and put a price tag on it. Even the smallest thing will get a 10 cent sticker on it.

            I used to go to estate sales, but after having found out what some of them really are, I can't morally justify going into someone's home and buying their stuff for cheap.

      • tmark said:
        ------------
        as I understood it companies are structured to protect the shareholders and executives from the creditors of the company
        ------------
        This is not true. The personal assets of the executives are protected unless they were used as collateral to secure loans. Shareholders get no protection - their entire investment is at risk. Creditors get paid first, then owners. Often a bank will put in executive compensation restrictions when making a small business loan specifically to prevent an owner from bleeding a company dry. If the company goes into bankrupcy court and you are an employee that gets paid AFTER working (you are in the "wages payable" ballance sheet item), you should be entitled to the same "pennies on the dollar" that the other creditors get.
        • as I understood it companies are structured to protect the shareholders and executives from the creditors of the company

          Sorry, what I meant was that the shareholders and executives were protected from legal action by the creditors, such as I imagined the original poster to be seeking. i.e., the executives and shareholders are not *personally* liable for any debt undertaken by the company and could not be sued.
        • You go after them in bankruptcy court. Michael's intimation that somehow the employees' theivery is justified in these situations is just so stupid it makes me sick

        Strong words. How about offering to take assets at near-cost prices in lieu of wages instead? Formalise the arrangement.

        That said, if they work anything like my employer, they'll be too dumb to take the offer. I've actually been told that the fact of obsolete laptops being taken out of service through theft is tacit company policy. It's easier than Facilities and Information Services fighting it out to avoid administrating an employee purchase scheme.

        I personally have been stopped and searched by security as I carried an obsoleted desktop to my car. It took me and my friendly local IS boss half an hour to convince them that it was going to be thrown in a dumpster if I didn't take it (along with the half dozen identical boxen already in there), and they actually made me write and sign a statement to this effect.

        This is the kind of mentality that we're dealing with here. Assets left gathering dust or fire saled for peanets because nobody wants to be responsible for doing something sensible with them.

      • by Evro (18923)
        How about piercing the corporate veil by proving intent to defraud? I was told the Company had plenty of money 2 or 3 days before the payroll failed to go through, and when I asked what was going on, I was told only "I don't know" by everybody. For two weeks nobody would tell me what was going on. Then it turned out that the company had only $14,000 to be split among ~20 people. THEN they expected everybody to continue working for free. But they promised us shares of the company in exchange for our forbearance. I had to stifle a laugh at that point. In any case, it seems to me they were trying to get more work out of me while knowing they couldn't pay me, which sounds like intent to defraud, which hopefully I can use somehow in court, which it seems is my only recourse.

        As for your saying that Michael's statement that the stealing is justified is stupid and that all these disputes should be resolved in court, I can only say that right now I owe $2000 on my credit cards, ~$2000 to other creditors (gas, electric, phone, cell, cable, etc), have student loans to repay, owe $300 on my checking account and now it seems the one place I can actually live I will no longer have as the landlord no longer wants tenants in his house. I cannot afford to wait for bankruptcy court. I need money NOW. If my sleazebag employer had at least had the common courtesy and decency to warn me that the company was in trouble I would have been able to make some sort of preparations. But they left me high and dry and evicted from my apartment. I have been living since July 27 off donations from my family. I don't even know what to tell them at unemployment, as they have only 3 categories for "why you left your job": fired, discharged (laid off), or quit. I was none of these. I simply stopped getting paid. The company still considers us all employees and expected us to all work for free. I am serious about that. They thought we would all work for free. Anyway, I can understand why people would steal. The day before the payroll didn't happen, the company bought 60 new computers -- Athlon 1ghz 1gb ram whiteboxes -- to use as servers. I want at least 20 of them in repayment. I'm not planning to steal them, but I doubt I'll ever see my money (knowing the conman who is the CEO).
      • ah... if you can /get/ them into bankruptcy court. Many choose to ignore bankruptcy altogether, since lots of nasty "you are not in control anymore" things happen there.

        theoretically, you can force them into bankruptcy. my experience has been otherwise. several years of debtors exams, missing records, stalling, lies, etc. - all effective in stalling the courts until there is nothing worth litigating against.

        look at the penny stock "pink sheet" companies that are reverse-merger products. you'll see this behavior all over the place. in fact, i've yet to find a reverse-merger product that worked...
      • You go after them in bankruptcy court. Michael's intimation that somehow the employees' theivery is justified in these situations is just so stupid it makes me sick.

        Crap. The system is totally set against the worker (who do you think comes last in the list of who gets paid from the liquidated assets of a bankrupt company?), so you got to take care of yourself outside the system. Why should that laptop get sold so some bank the company owes money to can avoid writing off a thousand bucks worth of bad debt (amongst its billion dollar profits for the year) rather than being sold to feed the family of an employee who's been stiffed out of a month's pay? Employees should absolutely be the first to get paid when a company gets liquidated, and as long as they aren't, anyone who takes the law into their own hands is a Robin Hood figure, as far as I'm concerned.

    • If your employer went into bankruptcy, then all their debts, including the one that they owed you, were cancelled. You can get into line with the company's other unsecured creditors, but, to be honest, your odds of getting much in compensation are low.

      As to going after the CEO's assets, there are essentially no cases in which you'd have any legal standing to do so, since the corporate veil was created precisely to prevent that. If you held stock in the corporation, then you might have a case against the management of the company if you could show that they mismanaged the company into the ground. Again, however, your odds of winning are very poor, and, frankly, probably not worth the expense.

      The thing to understand is this: when employees are canned without severance, it sucks. It's sleazy, and disreputable, and the people who do it are the scum of the earth. However, beyond that, Michael's wrong -- what your employer did isn't illegal; we as a nation protect those whose businesses fail, even if they should never have hired employees in the first place.

      That protection isn't one-sided, though. You weren't fired for cause, so you can collect unemployment insurance. You may well be eligible for other transitional programs, too -- exploit them. We all pay taxes to protect people like you, so don't waste the money we payed.
    • by segfaultcoredump (226031) on Tuesday September 25, 2001 @10:35AM (#2346586)
      Having recently gone through a dot bomb, here is the order of payout:

      1) Employees get paid first. Period. If the company does not have the cash to cover payroll, they are in big trouble.

      2) Creditors get paid second, usually in order of size or importance. This means that the bank gets their money and contractors get their take after the bank.

      3) VC's get whatever is left (if anything). They put their money at risk, they knew the risk, and they stood the most to gain.

      Now, in some states (I'm in colorado), if the employer does not pay in 15 days or so, you can send them a nice little form letter (available at the colorado department of labor's website) that basically says that if they dont pay in 15 days that they owe you triple.

      Now, here is the real kicker: if they still dont pay, you can go after the company and then select officers of the company and the (yes, the ceo himself and usually the head of the board of trustees). Like I mentioned before, they are required to be able to meet payroll, and if they can't, They must lay you off before they run out of money, not after.

      Anyway, that is the way it worked in my case. IANAL, but I play one on slashdot.
      • True story. Employees are first on the list to get paid. As I understand it, this doesn't change even after the company goes under--if it somehow gets cash in, it still goes to the (ex) employees owed.

      • You forget:

        0) The IRS gets their cut and any back taxes, no exceptions. Anything left over then gets split up among the various creditors.

        This is true for all 50 states and any territories.
    • by tswinzig (210999) on Tuesday September 25, 2001 @10:46AM (#2346650) Journal
      What has worked for people in the past?

      Apparantly, stealing as much shit on the way out as possible.
  • by unformed (225214) on Tuesday September 25, 2001 @09:06AM (#2346120)
    But some things I did take:
    Legit sealed copies of Windows 98, Office 2000, etc, which I could use to somewhat legitimize my computer. (at the time)
    A fire extinguisher.
    Lots of food.
    T-shirts.
    Half of a video camera. (The building had the eyepiece of an old Beta video camera stuck into the wall to make it look like a security camera. Obviously it wasn't working)
    Lots of notebooks, papers, etc, for school.

    And, I think that was it....the company never went out of business though; i just took it because no one was using it ;)
    • I must admit I never took that much either. Besides the standards, your pens, mouse, coffee, and postage, I had to go in late at night and remove the overhead screen from the meeting room as at the company xmass party a friend who I invited, a librarian (and we all know how they can be prrrrrrrrrr....) got wasted and thinking she was writing on a dry erase board actually scribbled "corporate pigs" on the overhead. Suffice to say someone blamed the mysteriously missing screen on a departed salesperson.

      If you need to verify this story you can check the garbage dumps in Boston)
    • "I did take...A fire extinguisher...i just took it because no one was using it"
      Yeah. Right. I think they are commonly used in the case of a fire, i.e. not often - be sure to take the life jackets next time you're on a ferry, and remove the air-bag from your friend's car, as they are probably 'not in use either'.
  • two wrongs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by regexp (302904) on Tuesday September 25, 2001 @09:07AM (#2346123)
    On the other hand, the fact that it's illegal to stiff your employees out of wages due them, even in a bankruptcy, isn't mentioned in the article...

    If (ex-)employees have a legitimate grievance with their employers, they can bring them to court. If they win, they get paid, and if they don't, they can chalk it up to misfortune and move on. It's ludicrous to suggest that getting stiffed out of wages goes anywhere toward justifying theft.

    • they can chalk it up to misfortune and move on

      And chalk up some legal fees if you don't have one of those "If I don't win the case, you don't pay me" lawyers.

    • This has a number of sides
      It is pretty awkward to sue a company that has just gone down the pan, owing you a month or more back wages.... and if you wait until the case comes to court, you will almost certainly win - against a company that has already sold all assets and handed over the money to the secured creditors (who aren't going to hand any back)
      however, in some cases the assets are never owned by the company that has just gone under - a number of "asset loans" are just that - loans of the assets (for a nominal $1 rent a year and a stack of shares) in which case they aren't stealing from the dot-comm, but from the rental company (and of course, even if the dot com got real money, it may have rented, rather than bought, major assets such as servers.
    • Looking at the other comments to your post, its obvious that even the simplest moral foundations of our society have eluded most of the other posters.

      Oh, by the way, these are the same people who want increased privacy. Go figure.

  • by Johnny5000 (451029) on Tuesday September 25, 2001 @09:11AM (#2346136) Homepage Journal
    If they company is too broke to pay the employee wages, then they should be liquidating the equipment themselves, and using it to pay the employees. Or at least find a place for the money to come from. The workers have to eat. I've got no problem with someone taking matters into their own hands if the employer isnt paying them.

    Reminds me of a story:

    There was this coffeeshop where the owner was really bad at paying the employees on time. So the employees started taking their wages out of the register, and leave a note about how much they took.

    Pretty soon they were always paid on time.

    The moral of the story: if you want loyal employees, dont treat them like shit. And if you treat them like shit, dont be surprised when little acts of sabotage start happening.

    -J5K

    • is that oftentimes the company doesn't own those assets, as the article pointed out. Furniture is leased. Computer equipment might also be leased. The company can't very well sell items it doesn't own.

      Secondly, for those items that the company does own, they actually belong to the creditors. That's whose money paid for those Aeron chairs and the Compaq servers and the Dell laptops. The employee did not pay for any of those things, and is not entitled to them.

      Steal from companies does not hurt your bosses so much as it hurts the companies that trusted in your bosses enough to invest.
      • And what of the 160 hours of work that I have invested in the company. Don't I deserve to be compensated for that?

        [This is hypothetical. I work at a really stable company - so far]
        • Do you deserve to be? Yes.

          Does that entitle you to steal property that rightfully belongs to a creditor? No.

          I'm not unsympathetic to the problem, but according to the law, the secured creditors get everything. If there's anything left over, then the unsecured creditors. Employees and stockholders fall into the latter category.

          What about that guy in the article who stole over $400,000 worth of merchandise? Let's just assume that that company was able to pay off its secured creditors; then what he stole was coming out of the pockets of fellow employees who are also awaiting compensation.
    • I was a director of a small UK software house at the time (started with two of us, employed about 8 when I left). We went through some hard times, but always paid the staff before anything else (I almost got evicted for non-payment of rent several times).

      The guy who was actually in charge was an idiot though and things soon got to creeping up and biting us. One day a factoring company (do you have these in the states?) can take a dislike to you and the first thing you hear about it is a winding up petition and freezing all your bank accounts. To get round this we had to resort to some pretty dodgy (legally) measures - like having another company with a very similar name and using the bank account for that one - to be able to pay anyone (or even trade).

      I bailed out in the end because I just couldn't stand the dishonesty - telling clients that "yes of course it's a legit copy of Netware - we just forgot to bring the manuals with us" and telling employees that "it'll all be OK - you'll get paid next week". I learned a lot in 2 years of working 120 hours a week - mostly about computers, but quite a lot about how not to run a company. At least one of the companies we'd registered went down within 3 months of me leaving. The idiot probably just went on trading and starting up new ones.

      As a director (or whatever) it's OK to take risks (you have to take risks to succeed) but you shouldn't mess around with other people's lives. Your employees have rent to pay, kids to feed and lives to live.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 25, 2001 @09:11AM (#2346139)
    They may have difficulty blaming themselves when they get laid off, so they direct their anguish at the company.

    Uh, hello? If a company goes bankrupt (usually due to a crappy business model or incompetent management), why should the guy at the bottom (secretary, router tech, janitor) blame themselves?

    I'd say the 80/20 rule holds true here - 20% of the employees are responsible for 80% of the business. If the 20% aren't doing their jobs, then the remaining 80% have a right to be upset with them. After all, the company does have a responsibility to operate in the best interests of all employees, not just the 20% that form the upper management.

    Now, of course, stealing servers, routers and laptops is just wrong, but perhaps this should serve as a wake-up call to the management - it's time to start treating your employees right!
    • Employees across the country are feeling disenfranchised. They may have difficulty blaming themselves when they get laid off...


      Now we hit the crux of the matter: (PHB) We're out of business. Sorry, no paycheck or severance, just go home. (Employee) Oh, God: I'm sorry, sir. I knew I should have bought more widgets, but the garage is already full and little Johnnie can't even get into his bedroom any more. *sob* (PHB) Damned whiner! Get out of my way, peasant! Whoever hired you is fired!

  • by spike666 (170947) on Tuesday September 25, 2001 @09:13AM (#2346146) Journal
    ... Wanna Herman Miller Aeron Chair?

    Cheap! only $400 and barely used... only the sweat of 3 dot com geeks on it...

  • You don't swipe items when the company has given you the boot. They'll have their eyes on you big time. What you do is you swipe items when you're pissed off at your company for treating you badly. (IE: Hurray! Everyone gets a 10% pay cut!)

    Best way to do this? Very simple. Use your company's shipping and receiving department. That's what they're there for. From you desk, sell office items on eBay. When it comes time to deliver the goods, box it up... at work... and give it to your shipping department (who, no doubt, will want to FedEx, UPS, or otherwise mail it with no later than two day delivery). Make the company foot the bill for getting rid of their own items.

    This message is in jest. Please DON'T try this, gentle SysAdmins. ;)
  • by Kagato (116051) on Tuesday September 25, 2001 @09:15AM (#2346162)
    Slashdot should include "IANAL" in the article. While there are several state and federal laws to "protect" workers from these types of situations there isn't much in the area of enforcement. In a perfect world the employer is required to tell the staff that they are going to file papers when they decided to draft them. Not after the file. In practice the employees usually find out when they go do work and find a notice pasted to a locked door.

    IANAL
  • Simple reasoning. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 25, 2001 @09:16AM (#2346163)
    I am posting this anonymously for obvious reasons.

    The company I work for at the moment is going through chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, before I started they had a history of missing paychecks which many feel will never be payed.

    They have not missed any of my paychecks, however they have provided a few hundred dollars worth of equipment so I can work from home instead of relocating to them.

    And if I do end up being owed money I may very well choose to take, AS PAYMENT, that equipment, at whatever the market prices are for those parts new at the time (which seems more then fair).

    Some may consider that theft, but I honestly can't see how, IF you are honest about it and actually tell the company that you are taking said assets instead of cash if they don't want to pay you.

    I do have to wonder how many companys turn around and report such as theft though.

    A programmer, who hopes for the best but keeps reality in mind.
    • Some may consider that theft, but I honestly can't see how

      Consider the other creditors (including other employees) of the bankrupt company, who would otherwise share in the potential value of those assets.

  • Lawyer: not quite (Score:4, Informative)

    by hawk (1151) <hawk@eyry.org> on Tuesday September 25, 2001 @09:18AM (#2346170) Journal
    I am a lawyser, but this is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, contact an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.


    >On the other hand, the fact that it's illegal to stiff
    >your employees out of wages due them, even in a bankruptcy, isn't
    >mentioned in the article...


    Uhh, no. That's not the law. There is certainly a breach of contract when an employee does not get paid, but in the absence of prior intent not to pay, it's generally not a crime.


    IN bankruptcy, it's a special set of rules. Employee wages up to a fixed amount (I forget the current number) are a priority claim; they get paid before the regular debts (but only to that amount). One of two things happen: 1) they all get paid, or 2) the "self help" took away assets that would have been used to pay all employees.


    Walking off with the expensive stuff could solve the former employee's food and housing nees for a couple of years, though . . .


    hawk, esq.

    • Re:Lawyer: not quite (Score:3, Interesting)

      by King Babar (19862)
      I am a lawyser, but this is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, contact an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

      [Completely irrelevant aside: if somebody claims to be a "lawyser", shouldn't they be dispensing "legsal advice" or maybe "legal advuice" or something like that?]

      Uhh, no. That's not the law. There is certainly a breach of contract when an employee does not get paid, but in the absence of prior intent not to pay, it's generally not a crime.

      OK, so how high a standard do you need for "intent" here? Here's what I think is an ordered list of possibilities as enunciated by a typical dot com executive; where would a judge start to laugh in your face?

      • "We really expected the VCs to give us the next round given our previous contract. Maybe we can make payroll if sales pick up a bit..."
      • "The VCs have cut us off, and we have no sales, but if we don't hire these techs we have no chance..."
      • "The VCs have cut us off, but they did approve my spiffy severance package. That doesn't leave enough for next month's payroll, but we need a new sysadmin..."
      • "The VCs have cut us off, we're stiffing our creditors, and I took the last of the cash as my bonus, but I need a tech to make this place seem lively enough to attract a buyer..."
      • "The chapter 11 filing doesn't come until the fifteenth, but I need a couple of warm bodies around here so I have plausible deniability when f*ckedcompany.com pre-announces our reduction in force..."
      • "Talk about your desperately deluded future ex-employees! While there's no money to even think about paying her boyfriend, what the heck? I'm not going to return that last favor in kind, but I'm in a generous mood just now..."

      I'm guessing you have to get all the way to the chapter 11 filing case to nail down intent; am I right?

  • by uucp (459917)
    used his security clearance to steal $445,549 worth of computers and equipment, including logic-card modules and oscilloscopes.

    Yah, I can see the itemization now.
    • One Computer $2,000.00
    • One Oscilloscope $43,549.00
    • One Logic-Card Module Ummmm $400,000.00 Yeah, that's the ticket!

  • On the other hand, the fact that it's illegal to stiff your employees out of wages due them, even in a bankruptcy, isn't mentioned in the article...

    You're right Michael - it's okay to steal and loot because some employers can't afford to make their payroll.

    WTF are you thinking?

    • by sql*kitten (1359) on Tuesday September 25, 2001 @09:30AM (#2346219)
      You're right Michael - it's okay to steal and loot because some employers can't afford to make their payroll.

      Uhh, CmdrTaco? Better keep an eye on Michael when Andover starts running out of cash...
  • Thievery. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by saintlupus (227599) on Tuesday September 25, 2001 @09:26AM (#2346207) Homepage
    Well, if this "Akron-based company" treated their employees anything like my last employer [verizon.com] did, it's no surprise. We were told three months ahead of time that we were being laid off, and then security guards were stationed inside the building to watch us all the time.

    Nothing quite like making your employees feel like criminals when it comes to making them want to steal things.

    --saint

    (I know, this is probably chock full o' poor grammar. I just got to work and I'm working on my first cup of coffee. Deal with it.)
  • My father had a VAR for Intergragh & Bently. when he ended up going bankrupt, because Bently changed there pricing retroactivley to a year back, he paid his employees and then gave stuff to some of them(and me) under the reasoning that it was all going to the bankrupcy court anyway.

    Same thing happened a t a company I worked for about a year ago. The owner gave me a couple off nice office chairs, a computer desk, some monitors and a bunch of other stuff. They know people are giving it away as a kind of extra severance pay.

    That's probably the main reason insurance companies won't pay for stuff.

  • Double standard (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ZanshinWedge (193324) on Tuesday September 25, 2001 @09:32AM (#2346223)
    Whenever an employer fucks up a pension plan, or terminates someone without good reason it's always "a shame". But whenever an employee walks away with a printer you can buy for 100 bucks on eBay after their severance package has been cancelled and their pay check bounced, it's "a criminal act".
  • by ras_b (193300)
    ...I had an escort that walked with me from the final meeting to my desk, then watched as I packed up what was mine, and made sure that I didn't walk with anything expensive. I wouldn't have stolen anything anyway. But I still took advantage of the company's unfortunate situation. They had several foosball tables and were planning on moving to a smaller office after the layoffs. I was able to purchase a foos table off of them for a fraction of the real price, and it was in mint condition. If you are not a criminal and are not willing to steal the equipment, it doesn't hurt to ask if they will sell you what you want for cheap.
  • by dillon_rinker (17944) on Tuesday September 25, 2001 @09:35AM (#2346240) Homepage
    This article is misleading and sensationalistic.

    The most common items stolen from tech companies by employees are laptops and handheld computers that cost less than $1,500 per item, asset managers say. But they are also seeing an increase in big-ticket theft.
    The writer gives ZERO facts in support of this.

    One anecdote cites someone who lifted $445,549 of equipment
    The anecdote refers to a MOTOROLA (hardly a dot-bomb) employee. The employee used his "security clearance" to steal a lot of stuff; I'd infer that there were multiple thefts over time while still employed. Either that or Motorola is too stupid to disable employees' access cards when they fire them, or maybe their security guards let people cart out half a million dollars' worth of equipment whenever they feel like it.

    The second largest number mentioned is $100,000...
    somebody had cut a hole through the wall and stolen $100,000 worth of computers.
    This is a flat-out case of robbery robbery. The writer carefully worded it to make it look to a casual reader like an ex-employee had stolen it but gives ZERO evidence for this proposition.

    The only news here isn't news...laptops and PDAs walk off. If you call someone and say "Don't bother coming back," they'll take you at your word, even if they've got a company laptop at home.
  • by pongo000 (97357) on Tuesday September 25, 2001 @09:40AM (#2346259)
    "They may have difficulty blaming themselves when they get laid off, so they direct their anguish at the company."


    And all this time, I thought it was OK to blame someone else for getting laid off. Now I come to find it was actually my fault all along.


    Guess I ought to give them back their laptop.

  • by AnalogBoy (51094) on Tuesday September 25, 2001 @09:41AM (#2346261) Journal
    You've been hired for your intelligence, use it. There are several ways to tell when its time to leave your company.

    1) You work for a DSL Provider thats NOT a bell Leave now.

    2) You see your company on FuckedCompany.com.

    3) Your stock is delisted, OR your IPO Is "Indefinately put on hold".

    4) Your company starts to buy metal folding chairs instead of Areons, saving ~$575.00/ea

    5) You have to start *gasp* PAYING for your cokes.

    6) You work for a dot-com with an unreasonable business model - I.E. Sending a $4 20 Lb bag of furball litter, overnight priority mail.

    7) Your CEO's last job was "PC Technician"

    8) Your company holds "Effective Resume Writing" classes or begins offering discounted copies of "Knock 'em Dead".

    9) You see a copy of "7 Habits of highly unemployed people" laying on your bosses desk.

    Theres more. But if you see any of the above, its a pretty good sign you need to move on.

  • by supabeast! (84658) on Tuesday September 25, 2001 @09:42AM (#2346266)
    I worked at one of the massive web consulting shops, and watched it go from 10,000 to about 50 employees before I finally got the golden shitcan award in July. A list of things I saw people steal follows:

    -Aeron Chairs
    -Dell Servers
    -Compaq Servers
    -Dell desktops
    -Cisco hubs and switches
    -Sun desktops
    -A pool table.
    -Microsoft Natural Keyboards
    -Speakers
    -Electronic foot massagers (Really.)
    -Books
    -Any software package known to man
    -Laptops
    -DLT Cartridges
    -Any SCSI equipment you could imagine.

    I could probably make this list longer, but I doubt anyone wants to read it.
  • Fault?!?! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by icey5000 (461582)
    "...Employees across the country are feeling disenfranchised. They may have difficulty blaming themselves when they get laid off, so they direct their anguish at the company."

    Huh? Since I've never been in the 'executive chair' how exactly could it ever be my fault that I am being laid off? Its called being FIRED if I screw up. Seriously, this is passing the buck. It sounds like a consultant selling consolation to management and investors -- you f'd up but its someone else's fault.

    Having played this game twice now, I think I have some experience -- first time gouged three weeks pay (I worked it, but never got paid). The second time I was given a 20% pay cut and told that I would still be expected to work overtime for free and then was laid off two weeks later anyway (no I never worked the overtime, I'm not that dumb). The second incident was very recently (last two weeks) and caused primarily because I work(ed) in the travel sector. My fault? I don't think so.

    While I certainly don't advocate outright theft of large and expensive equipment. I have no trouble whatsoever understanding why people 'take stuff'. The investors and management never have a second thought about protecting their interests -- so why should you?
  • Somebody I know...barely... was working for a little dot-bomb in the making. They decided not to pay the last two weeks of work on time, and the last four weeks of expenses, while having their techs carpool 90 minutes daily to a customer site to continue working. When the paychecks didn't come in, two techs refused to drive until they got back expenses, having an empty gas tank and near-empty wallet. That message went through the bookkeeper to the pres and never got returned.

    Over the next few days, rounds of email were sent requesting back expenses, requesting back pay, then requesting a simple reply. None were forthcoming. One of the techs finally postulated that if the pres couldn't reply, the tech couldn't work. If the tech couldn't be paid, he would accept the tools in his possession in leiu of a paycheck and move on to another job. The pres NEVER even answered. The whole thing just defaulted away.

    I wouldn't guess how "legal" it was. Weeks of work without pay, weeks of expenses without reimbursement. A peaceable solution proposed by the employee and never answered by the boss. It was just ugly. No, "sad" is a better word. That money never did come in. Sucked to be those guys.

    --
    -j
  • Working for free (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NineNine (235196) on Tuesday September 25, 2001 @09:52AM (#2346318)
    What I want to know is why people worked for free so long in the first place? I know when my paycheck comes, and if I don't get paid, I don't work. It's as simple as that. I work because I get paid. Why did these people continue to work? That seems like a pretty damn stupid idea. I'd rather sit at home in my PJ's, watching TV and sending out my resume then go into work for free. (And in fact, I was forced to do this once).
  • Save the talk of disenfrachisement. You may have lost a paycheck or two. OTOH, six or seven thousand people are dead. My aunt's brother, my friend's brother are among them. I'm looking for a job at the moment, as are many of you.

    In all of these situations, people need the help of strangers in order to make it. Fair dealing is the foundation of all organized society. Now more than ever, we need to treat others the way we would like to be treated.

  • that I read on /. how people were offended about company policies where employees who are laid off were immediately escorted by security to the door, and someone else threw all of the employee's belongings into a box for them.

    You can't have it both ways as a society. If you want to engage in theft in retaliation for being laid off, then expect such draconian termination policies (or worse) to become the norm.
  • How many USians remember Builders Square?

    My brother-in-law worked for them 15 years before the anouncement came that they were going out of business. To keep from having an employee mass exodus so that they could sell of all the remaining inventory, the employees were promised the following for staying the last few months:

    Pay for unused vacation

    A weeks pay for every year of service for severance

    This money was to be mailed to their places of residence the Saturday after the Final closing date along with their final paycheck.

    Saturday arrives and instead of the checks they get a letter saying that not only were they reneging on the promised severance and vacation pay, but they also were not getting their last paycheck.

    My brother-in-law got screwed out of 20 weeks pay.(3 weeks vacation, 15 years service, 2 week paycheck)

    Moral: Stick your company for everything you can get when it comes to salary and benefits, because they have as much empathy and caring for you as they do for the Xerox machine. Don't believe anything management promises, unless it is in writing AND signed. When the company looks like it is in trouble, abandon it like rats off a sinking ship, because that is what they would do to you.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Most slashdotters are completely used to stealing music, so office furniture is the logical consequence.
  • Another issue here is that the employees who are left when a company comes to its bitter end are generally viewed as the "most valuable," having made it through many many rounds of layoffs. So the first batch of layoffs, people considered to be below par, get substantial severence, rewarded for sucking. Subsequent rounds of layoffs have smaller and smaller severence packages. Those who are still around at the bitter end commonly receive nothing for enduring the vast majority of the misery that the company has wrought. How can anyone fault them for taking part in a bit of "self-compensation"?
  • by mindslip (16677) on Tuesday September 25, 2001 @11:53AM (#2347158)
    I run a one-man-show which is incorporated for my protection, and of course, tax purposes.

    The articles of incorporation (Canadian law, BTW) clearly state that in the event of a bankruptcy, or similar, all money oweing to directors of the company (me), will be paid in full before other debitors.

    So, technically, if I declare bankruptcy, I could state that the company owes me $xxx,xxx.xx and hand over the company assets to myself personally, leaving nothing for the debitors.

    IANAL, but I think I've got a good one! =-)

    Does anyone use something similar, and has anyone had any personal experience putting similar rules into force? I'd really love to know what sort of a leg I have to stand on. Stuff in writing is only worth the paper it's printed on until you test it!

    mindslip
  • by Jamie Zawinski (775) <jwz@jwz.org> on Tuesday September 25, 2001 @04:39PM (#2349305) Homepage

    In the immortal words of King Missle:

    Take stuff from work.

    It's the best way to feel better about your job.
    Never buy pens or pencils or paper.
    Take 'em from work.
    Rubber bands, paper clips, memo pads, folders -- take 'em from work.
    It's the best way to feel better about your low pay and appalling working conditions.
    Take an ashtray -- they got plenty.
    Take coat hangers.
    Take a, take a trash can.
    Why buy a file cabinet?
    Why buy a phone?
    Why buy a personal computer or word processor?
    Take 'em from work.
    I took a whole desk from the last place I worked.
    They never noticed, and it looks great in my apartment.
    Take an electric pencil sharpener.
    Take a case of white-out; you might need it one day.
    Take some from work.
    It's your duty as an oppressed worker to steal from your exploiters.
    It's gonna be an outstanding day.
    Take stuff from work.
    And goof off on the company time.
    I wrote this at work.
    They're paying me to write about stuff I steal from them.
    Life is good.

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