Are High-Tech Companies Running Sweatshops?

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Apparently, not everyone in Silicon Valley is working long hours and getting rich -- some people are just working long hours. On Wednesday spokespeople from federal and California state labor authorities, including the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division, announced an investigation into the labor practices of several prominent high-tech companies, including Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems and Cisco Systems. The charges? That these companies illegally employ Asian immigrants to assemble electronics at home.

"We're talking about possible overtime violations, child labor violations and certainly record-keeping violations and violations of other laws as well -- tax laws and OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] and others," said George Friday, who represents the Wage and Hour Division in a number of western states. The investigation, triggered by a report in the Mercury News, will be the first of its kind in Silicon Valley in 19 years. MORE >>