Solyndra Wins Approval to Pay Bonuses to Remaining Employees (Nicole C.)

Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) — Solyndra LLC, the failed solar-panel maker that got $535 million in government loan guarantees before filing for bankruptcy, won court approval to pay some of its remaining workers as much as $368,500 in bonuses. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Mary Walrath granted the company approval to pay the bonuses to 20 employees if they can achieve certain milestones during the bankruptcy case.

Walrath overruled objections from Solyndra’s fired workers, who argued the bonuses are for company insiders and aren’t needed for a company that’s liquidating.

“These are rank-and-file people,” there is no evidence that any of the bonus recipients are insiders, Solyndra attorney Bruce Grohsgal told Walrath. The bonuses, the largest of which is $30,000, cover 13 engineers, five accounting and compliance employees, and two information technology specialists. Solyndra scaled back its original bonus proposal of $500,000 after negotiating with the committee of unsecured creditors.

Auctions of the company’s assets, excluding real estate and intellectual property, must be completed by June 30 for some employees to receive their bonuses and a bankruptcy exit plan must be filed by March 31 for others to earn their payments.

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This blog and its accompanying Twitter account have been established as social media learning tools for the Internal Communications and Employee Engagement class at Columbia College Chicago. Through this blog, we will share our observations about current events, change management and employee communications theory, and the application of social media in shaping employee engagement.
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