OKC-based company wants to keep employees’ $1,200 stimulus payments….

One of the few positive things about the Coronavirus pandemic is that it shows us just how greedy, heartless and merciless some corporations can truly be.

For example, we have learned via the Ogle Mole Network that ImageNet Consulting – an Oklahoma City-based “Information Technology Solutions” firm that sells high-dollar copiers, scanners, and IT services to companies all across the country – wanted their remaining employees to forfeit a portion of their April paycheck that is equal to the amount they will receive from their government-issued Coronavirus stimulus payment.

(Update! ImageNet Abandons Plan To Pocket Employee Stimulus Payments.)

Basically, ImageNet Consulting came up with a plan to pocket their employees’ stimulus checks!

The move came after the company had already conducted mass layoffs as a result of the pandemic. It was first kind of reported by KXAN out of Austin, which is home to an ImageNet Consulting branch.

For some reason, KXAN didn’t identify the company by name:

While Congress was working out the details on a bill that would provide Americans with stimulus checks, at least one Austin company was looking for ways to save payroll.

“The form says they are preemptively deducting funds from our paychecks. That number is based on what they’re anticipating the government relief fund to be,” a worker for the company told KXAN. The worker asked not to be identified in this investigation so as not to impact his company’s ability to continue doing business…

In all fairness to ImageNet, they could use the extra money. According to this blog post by company CEO Pat Russell, the privately held company – which is worth at least nine-figures – only has annual revenues that exceed $100-million, and margins that run about 40%, so they also obviously need their employees stimulus checks to remain so profitable!

In fact, they need their employees kids stimulus payments, too!

The agreement would put workers under a “temporary compensation reduction that is in line with the assistance that it receives from the federal government related to the COVID-19 pandemic.” By signing the agreement, the company’s employees would have their paychecks between April 6 and April 20 cut by 100% of any money received under the stimulus bill.

The company would also take half of the $500 stipend allotted for dependents under the bill.

I don’t know about you, but that’s pretty badass in a shitty, corporate-asshole type of way! I’m sure the people at Hobby Lobby are kicking themselves for not thinking of it first!

You can view the entire agreement that KXAN acquired here. You may notice the company name and all that fun stuff is blacked out. Here’s an unredacted top-half of the letter that one Mole provided us. We had to cut the bullet points at the bottom, as they could identify the whistle-blower who leaked the document:

They should change the name from “Employee Emergency Compensation Program” to “This Is How We’re Going to Screw Over Our Employees!” That’s way more accurate.

We’ve also acquired a blurry attachment to an email that ImageNet sent to their employees yesterday. Get out your magnifying glass and read it:

We’d like to thank multiple Ogle Moles for sending us this information so we can all properly shame this greedy corporation that’s obviously run and managed by greedy people.

I know the economic collapse of the pandemic is challenging and affecting any and all businesses (us included), but some places like ImageNet Consulting seem to be taking things too far. If you know of any other Oklahoma companies that are being unreasonably dickish to their employees during this time of crisis, contact us today.


Update: The Company has responded an issued the following statement:

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69 Responses

  1. Should be #ILLEGAL

    1. This shall be shared on Facebook. How can this be legal? Poor company is needing an illegal form of bailout

    2. It is.

    3. it is illegal. you can’t force people to work for no pay because the government have them money, there are actual labor laws this violates

      1. But you *can* give them an immediate paycut. As long as this doesn’t put anyone below minimum wage, it’s legal. (Might mess with non-exempt overtime, though.)

    4. Diverting federal funds sounds like a federal crime!

      1. Agree – if not it should be.

  2. Is it safe to share this on fb?

    1. Of course

      1. Anything goes on Facebook. Anything at all.


  3. Yeah, that sucks. But the other side of the coin is that those folks are keeping their jobs in spite of taking a pay cut. But what a crass way to calculate the pay cut!

    Will ImageNet Consulting try to claw back some of its (former) employees unemployment compensation too? Stay tuned.

    God is playing his usual tricks again. In spite of His clear message to the contrary to Mrs. Green, the good Christians who own Hobby Lobby are terminating at least 32 of their valued and loyal workers at its HQ as of this past Friday afternoon. Not laying off – terminating! I guess some HL stores are still open in some places, but closed in many others.


    I haven’t heard what sort of compensation or support the valued workers at closed HL stores will receive. Most likely… none.

    Has anyone thought about what the loss of employer-based health insurance is going to mean for so many people as every one of us faces a serious and possibly life-threatening illness from this virus?

    1. Well, try to see it from the POV of the Hobby Lobby guy.

      By terminating these folks, his company saves enough money that he can more easily afford to buy yet another Mercedes SUV, and even have it customized to his specifications! For instance, he can install a special audio device that plays random Bible quotes through $50,000 speakers while he drives! But if he DIDN’T fire those people, he’d have to settle for a normal, un-customized Mercedes SUV, and hire a Mexican to read those quotes to him directly out of the Bible, in Spanish-accented English.

      That just wouldn’t be right.

      1. What a bunch if ignorant scum. Hobby Lobby termed people so they can now collect unemployment and can pay those who are still employed 75% of their pay while they are not working.

      2. What the fuck are you even talking about??? I currently work there and am having to endure this current spectacle; if that’s not bad enough, you make up lies such as the above?? Go fuck yourself!

      3. Are all the terminated staff women?

    2. Well well well, it looks like those employees are just gonna have to be bootstrappy!

    3. I agree with Graychin (this might be the first time ever). While the optics of this move by ImageNet are shameful, it’s much better than the alternative of furlough, layoff, reduction in force, or termination.

      If I were an employee of ImageNet, I would feel the ‘punch in the gut’ of losing 1,200 (or maybe more) income, but I would feel grateful that I would still have a job.

      Consulting companies are going to feel this. Consulting companies rely on their clients to spend money on themselves, such as Human Resources, Financials, or Manufacturing processes. When economic times are tough or even unstable, internal budgets are the first to get slashed. Thus, a lesser need for consulting services.

      1. This is a family owned company. Let me tell you this family is RICH. They sale copiers and supplies and IT services. These guys are cheap though. This is a 150 million dollar 17 location company. All of the presidents of each location make 250k+ a year. You won’t see flashy cars from these guys but they do have about 5 million dollars worth of rv, houses, vacation houses and toys to play with. When they let me go they said I should betasteful to make 50k a year and I wouldn’t get a job like that that let me work from home. I now work from home and make double the above figure. These guys don’t know how to treat people and their business is going crumble if they don’t quit treating people so poorly.

      2. The stimulus payment famously does not distinguish between employed and unemployed persons. It is intended to stimulate via spending by individuals. It is not intended as any kind of benefit for employers. ImageNet can get in line for any corporate-level benefits & loans not available to individuals and also FRO.

      3. Sheep…. Thanks for stealing my money and not compensating me for my work… today

      4. Are you seriously trying to make excuses for these scumbags. “They should feel happy they still have a job”! F-THAT!!! That $1200 would just go into the exec’s pockets. They will still lay off their workers. And the workers would just end up being out the $1200. They are scum and so are you for trying to defend them.

    4. And what does God have anything to do with the actions of a greedy board of directors? Didn’t God give humans the ability to make moral choices? Also, Jesus didn’t teach anything that these folks are doing, that’s their own choice.

      But to take a capitalistic, corporate view: maybe the owners are trying to keep the rest of their employees afloat by terminating a smaller number, or removing certain benefits. This is something often done during recessions, otherwise the whole company can go under and then no one will have a job.
      I’m not saying that’s the case here, but it happens often enough that makes it standard practice.

      It is possible that the CEO is acting on the advice of his/hers advisors, or maybe with self-ambition. But anecdotal assumptions or preconceived notions is counter-productive to any healthy discussion.

      I remember working as a mechanical tech for Home Depot during the 2008 recession, with Bob Nardelli on board. He terminated a lot of people, with no compensation, and cut our benefits and got rid all top-paid staff. Nardelli was known as the “hatchet man”, but he was the student of the late Frank Blake. Our customer satisfaction dropped to record lows. Narelli (and Blake) are still praised for their corporate prowess.

      1. God also created the coronavirus, so don’t get too excited there champ.

    5. Yes,
      Specifically Bernie Sanders has been pushing for at the very least Medicare for All as a start to eventual single payer medical care.

      Now is the time for everyone to start requiring our Government (especially before the next election) to provide for our health and welfare as a basic right and give everyone full adequate and equal medical care no matter their income or status in society, like every other first world country today.

      1. LOL, yeah, never let a crisis go to waste..

  4. And here I was, thinking that the company’s name was “Imagine that!”

  5. Please tell me someone has alerted the media, local and national.

    1. I sent emails to fox 7 and kvue down here to cover this. Kxan already showed their colors. As they always do.

    2. Donald Trump will be mentioning the company’s name at Monday’s press conference.

  6. I wished The Lost Ogle would stir the pot and ask Imagenet for a comment, the power of The Lost Ogle could cause them to crap their pants and backtrack!

    1. Yeah. Like work. Like journalists.

      1. TLO is a satirical, not journalistic, site. The fact that it regularly scoops local journalists on news stories just points out the dismal state of that trade in Oklahoma.

        1. Well said, Eddie.

  7. I read a story on FOX News (don’t start) about an unidentified company doing this and was hoping it was fake news. Here is the link (https://www.foxnews.com/us/texas-stimulus-money-company-paychecks.amp) but I’m NOT promoting FOX News in any way…

    1. True is true, regardless of source. Fox News pundits may have severe biases (so do pundits on other outlets, to be fair), but there are still good reporters in the Fox news system.

      1. Name two

        1. Shep Smith, for one.

          Oh – wait….

        2. Martha MacCallum and Chris Wallace

        3. Martha Maccalum and Chris Wallace

    2. This is the company that story is about

  8. Next thing ya know they’ll start a Go Fund Me page


  10. This needs to be on the news for everyone to see !
    My best friend works for this company (won’t mention the branch ) and u read the contract last week ! The people that weren’t laid off were basically forced to sign that contract ! this company is ran by evil greedy men !

  11. I was laid off by this company and I’m not very surprised by this action. It’s sad. Nearly all of the sales reps there were laid off.

  12. What pieces of grade A manure.

  13. From my understanding big corporations are also receiving help from the stimulus package to help compensate for their loses as well. So why do they need their employees money. Their employees are still working therefore the company is still bringing money in. Are the employees supposed to feel grateful for a job that is going to be done with their free labor. In my opinion, what this company is going to do is take their employees money, get free labor, then keep the money brought in by employees and then apply for all the money the government has put in place to help companies over come the hardship that this coronavirus has caused. That is not Evan considering the emergence laws that have been put in place for not having enough to pay your lease and the fact that the people or companies that owe mortgages are also getting a helping hand from restricting collections for 6 months. This company and the person or people who own it feel entitled to not have to suffer like the rest of the nation. I am sure the people work work for this company in ceo and board positions are Quarantine in nice fancy housing with pools and tennis courts. With food and supplies stocked to the roof. I know I for one will not be buying any product or service from this greedy selfish company or any company connected to it. All I can say to them is enjoy your decision because there is more middle and lower class people than rich ones. I would rather go to one of you competition companies and give them my business and help them to grow as most Americans will do the same. What goes around comes around. Enjoy what you sow from this because it will desecrate your soil.

  14. Considering this stimulus check is a TAX CREDIT to the individual, this becomes the same as the business claiming they have a right to employees’ tax refunds as well.

    Of course this is ILLEGAL! This needs to be reported to the IRS as a TAX THEFT!

    There are other programs available, and becoming available, to help out businesses. Stealing from your employees is not one of the options, and certainly not a Tax Credit belonging to an employee who files and pays taxes.

  15. They should all quit and just take unemployment and let’s see how this company does then.

    1. That’s not really how unemployment works…..

  16. Nice work, Ogle, Thank you

  17. Sounds like they learned from Donald T to a “T” and his big Tax cut for the American people errrr Businesses , After He got the Tax bill thru our Co Ceased our Bonuses for Employees Citing Declining Business so When I retired last Jan they asked Why … I cited “Declining wages, as in Where my Bonus” But They owners still got there at Xmas, saw them in the parking lot in the Reserved spots Last week.

    1. ?

  18. This sounds to me like an Oklahoma Standard type of company. Granted the job of a business is to make money, ethics be damned. Also very easy to rationalize behavior like this, in the same way Mussolini was given latitude because he did keep the trains running on time.

    Not a lawyer but this sounds like a contract signed under duress. Forfeit your stimulus check, you get to keep your job. Of course no way to know how long you will keep the job, and what else they will take from you to keep it in the future. Ideally I would run as fast as I could away from these people, but also understand there aren’t many jobs out there right now, and you have to do what you have to do.

    Perhaps the owners/managers of this company are also making sacrifices. Maybe they are forgoing salaries and are taking larger cuts and this will be a way to keep the business alive. There is an expression in business that sometimes everyone has to take a haircut for things to survive. If everyone sacrifices a little, everyone can survive.

    Or it could be a company with similar ethics to those of Tate Publishing. My gut feeling after reading the document, I would run far away from these people if I could. You are giving a lot to this company in hopes of keeping your job. The lawyers are making sure the company will get to keep the money you agreed to give them. I guess they want to make sure they get paid.

    I hate to paint a broad brush and condemn all Oklahoma based companies, as there are some good people in Oklahoma. But my experience is many successful Oklahoma based businesses worry more about their own survival than their product or their employees. But that is the Oklahoma Standard, and as long as the paychecks keep coming no reason to rock the boat.

    But in all seriousness my heart goes out to those who lost their job, and also to those who still have their job at this place. With luck this will all be behind us soon and there will be new businesses who have working moral compasses to guide their business practices.

  19. I really hope they go out of business over this.

  20. Please don’t defend these asshats in any way. As the article states ImageNet has already “conducted mass layoffs”. I do not have any inside information but I have a hundred bill that says all the employees remaining still have revenue generating consulting gigs or are profitable in some other way or they to would already be gone. Just an incredibly greedy and mean spirited cash grab in my opinion. I have worked for and with larger consulting firms and they are some of the most greedy enterprises around. The partners and/or high level executives make so much money they need constant infusions of cash like any other addict. Special place in hell.

  21. I knew this was going to happen. Some business ain’t nothing but greed. Their business is gonna fall a lot after this. Anyway I sure hope it does.. Greed doesn’t get you nowhere!!

  22. In every state, an employee who voluntarily quits a job without good cause is not eligible for unemployment. But state laws vary as to how they define “good cause.” This certainly sounds like the employees have good cause but then this is Oklahoma & it isn’t well known as a worker friendly state.

  23. You don’t have to be terminated to collect unemployment.

    1. When someone decides to leave a job, because they were the one who ended the employment relationship, it is up to them to prove they had a valid reason to quit.

      We have had employees quit their job with us & try to collect unemployment benefits. They did not succeed in proving their claim.

      We have also had employees that simply stopped coming to work & after a period of time try to file for unemployment, assuming they had been terminated. My response was they still had a job. It was rather amusing to hear their surprise.

  24. So, if an image net employee works a second job, does the company also deduct what the employee makes from the side gig? Or an employee also receiving Social Security? This is simply theft.

  25. They appear to be a Hewlett Packard dealer, let HP know how you feel about their business practices. If enough noise is made HP will pull their dealership.

  26. When someone decides to leave a job, because they were the one who ended the employment relationship, it is up to them to prove they had a valid reason to quit.

    We have had employees quit their job with us & try to collect unemployment benefits. They did not succeed in proving their claim.

    We have also had employees that simply stopped coming to work & after a period of time try to file for unemployment, assuming they had been terminated. My response was they still had a job. It was rather amusing to hear their surprise.

  27. Brain dead company. How on earth did some ass think this would work.

  28. I just left a very businesslike message on their corporate web sight, expressing how I feel. You could do the same.

  29. They quickly rescinded the policy seeing how it was illegal as hell besides being unethical and devastating from a PR point of view. It is just one more instant overreaction to the shelter in place. Recovery in the aftermath will happen if human nature doesn’t prevent it. The virus crisis will end and consumerism which is the true driver of out economy will resume. Our economic leaders need to quit using the stock market as the key indicator of our economic health. It’s too variable and overly sensitive to transient events. Selling stocks doesn’t make or break companies, selling products or devices does.

  30. To those people who are currently calling this company and bitching out the workers who have nothing to do with this decision: fuck you. Go find something better to do with your time. Obviously you’re all just bored at home and have nothing better to do than to cuss out genuinely good people who are just trying to do their jobs. You’re sick.

  31. To all employees of these companies, whether or not the companies have rescinded their arrogantly foolish, anti-employee decisions, or not; you can never, ever again, trust them to behave morally or honestly. Start looking now for work with more legitimate companies that actually look out for the good of their employees.

  32. Imagenet apologized only because they got caught. They are not sorry about the moral or legal questions about it. They are sorry for the way it hurts their bank account.

    This did not affect a small group of people, it was mandated for all employees under $75000. Employees above $75000 did take a pay reduction in other ways.

    Imagenet wanted to use the employee stimulus to offset company costs. It was intentional. It was written down as part of a set of instructions and circulated. They asked employees about the number of dependents. It was not a mistake until they got caught.

    The employees will never trust them, but they cant afford to go without a paycheck in this economy.

  33. FYI: The state uses these guys all the time; Department of Rehab Service has a huge contract with them.

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