49.9 percent of the people who "work" at Google, don't actually work for Google. They are temporary employees, contractors, and vendors, even if they show up on one of the Google campuses every day. And someone just released shocking internal documents that show how Google treats these "TVCs" differently.

Honestly, it seems awful. You can't even give TVCs a Google t-shirt. They shouldn't come to certain meetings, and they don't get all company-wide email distributions. 

It's like they're second class citizens.

But, here's the deal: if you're going to have temps, vendors, and contractors working for your company you have to treat them differently than you treat your employees. Not because you're mean and horrible, but because that is how the law works.

Google, said in an internal document, reported by The Guardian:

Co-employment is a relationship between two or more employers in which each has actual or potential legal rights and duties with respect to the same employee. If found to be a joint employer of a TVC by an agency or court, then Alphabet could be liable for employer obligations, as well as acts and omissions leading to employment related legal claims.

This is no joke. It's very similar to what McDonald's went through this summer with their lawsuits over being responsible for the employees at franchised locations. Google wants to avoid the fate of a government official declaring that the TVCs are actually Google (or rather, Alphabet) employees.

If you use temps, you need to take the same precautions that Google takes. You cannot treat your temps the same as your employees. It would be great if everyone could be one big, happy family, but the law doesn't allow for that.

They are employees of the agency that places them to work at Google. Google doesn't pay them and ultimately is not responsible for them. It is, however, an exceedingly complicated and nuanced issue. If an employee is customer facing, for example, an employer may not want to create two classes of workers, since the employer likely wants a seamless experience for the consumer. In this instance, however, Google as bigger concerns, such as labor organizing, equal pay, and fair treatment, all of which has led it to create this two-class system, all the avoid the potential finding of a "joint employer." 

This is not to say, however, that you should be using TVCs rather than regular employees. An anonymous group of TVCs wrote at Medium:

The exclusion of TVCs from important communications and fair treatment is part of a system of institutional racism, sexism, and discrimination. TVCs are disproportionately people from marginalized groups who are treated as less deserving of compensation, opportunities, workplace protections, and respect. We wear different badges from full-time employees, which reinforces this arbitrary and discriminatory separation. Even when we're doing the same work as full-time employees, these jobs routinely fail to provide living wages and often offer minimal benefits. This affects not only us, but also our families and communities.

Now, to be honest, they don't show any proof that TVCs are a result of institutional racism, sexism and discrimination. Yes, they wear different badges than the employees but that is because they are not employees. They get different benefits and different pay scales because they are not employees. 

If this Medium article is correct and the difference is due to illegal discrimination, then Google should make changes, but absent that, until the law changes, or Google decides to only use regular employees, the separation between employee and TVC has to exist from a legal standpoint. So, be kind to your temps, but don't invite them to the company Christmas party.

Published on: Dec 17, 2018