In the wake of several cancelled military defense contracts and fallout from the scandals surrounding former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, the Detroit civil engineering firm, Lakeshore TolTest Corp., abruptly shut its doors and filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy relief in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware on May 2, 2014. Lakeshore built fighter hangars and control towers overseas for the military.
By itself, a company closing its doors is nothing new; but in the weeks prior to the bankruptcy, Lakeshore maintained over 200 employees and subcontractors on projects for the defense department in Afghanistan, who were notified via e-mail that the company was permanently closing and that their positions were being immediately terminated. However, Lakeshore did not provide its personnel with any process for repatriating back to the United States, the United Kingdom or other countries of origin, leaving them stranded on foreign soil and looking to their own devices and resources to get back home. Adding insult to injury, it was reported that a majority of those stranded overseas have not been paid since March.
The foregoing highlights one of the unforeseen effects of living and working in a global economy, and raises the question of employer responsibility for the well-being of its employees working overseas.