Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Google's Second-Class Citizens

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the more-hourly-than-thou dept.

Google 320

theodp writes "Valleywag reports on a new caste system at Google, which will mean compulsory lunch breaks, two additional unpaid 15-minute breaks, limited OT, and e-clock punching for those reclassified as hourly workers starting April 1. Could be worse, though. Google also offers gigs through WorkforceLogic (the company that helped Microsoft deal with its pesky permatemps), which come with a guarantee of unemployment after one year. Guess that's what passes for the Best Employer in the US these days."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Hoogle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18442773)

Google, you're so hot. Everyone wants to work for you. They'll lay on their front and offer their backside to you.

That's fed law. (4, Informative)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 7 years ago | (#18442801)

That's the law. If you are classified as an hourly worker you MUST take at least a 30 minute lunch break and have a 15 minute break for every 4 hours you work. Overtime is also regulated in a similar way.

What a fantastic non story.

Re:That's fed law. (5, Informative)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 7 years ago | (#18442873)

Sorry, not Federal Law - its state Law, so mileage may vary. Although, the laws amongst the states are very similar.

Re:That's fed law. (5, Informative)

j1mc (912703) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443545)

Looks like Google is just re-classifying these jobs as non-exempt under fair labor standards act regulations. It's likely that Google did an audit of job duties and responsibilities, and found that these jobs should be classified as non-exempt under the law, and are making that adjustment. HR groups have to do that all the time, and California has some of the most stringent labor laws of any state, so Google HR is just doing what they need to do.

Having your job classified as exempt from FLSA laws carries with it a certain status, though. Employees like to be "salaried," and not have to fill out an hourly timesheet, even if filling out a timesheet means the occasional opportunity for overtime.

Re:That's fed law. (3, Insightful)

battery111 (620778) | more than 7 years ago | (#18442927)

Well, the only part of this that I CAN understand being upset about are the UNPAID 15 minute breaks. While it is google's perogative to make them unpaid, generally the 15 minute breaks (law mandates 10 minute BTW) are paid. Again, not illegal, but google has built a reputation for offering it's employees more. Anyone who has ever worked for an outstanding company that gave all kinds of perks is familiar with the google employee's pain. It sucks to have tons of cool benefits then gradually watch them slip away as the company grows and seeks to boost the bottom line.

Re:That's fed law. (3, Informative)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443117)

I've worked as a hiring manager for more than one company, and I've rarely ever seen an hourly employee get paid for breaks. It's not a common thing. They get paid for the time they work, which is the essence of an *hourly* employee by definition.

Re:That's fed law. (1)

Seraphim1982 (813899) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443655)

Well, if we're going to throw around anecdotal evidence:
I've never worked for a company that didn't provide at least one paid 15 minute break to its hourly workers.

Happened here (3, Insightful)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 7 years ago | (#18442987)

It used to be that where I work, everyone in our department was exempt. The catch is that for a few folks, they were treated like hourly employees (strict work times for the help desk staff, for example). Eventually someone complained and certain jobs were reclassified as hourly.

In general, I don't think it made much of a difference to people's salaries. Certain Help Desk staff had their schedules adjusted to prevent overtime. Hourly people had to record their times. What's strange is that there was a loss of prestige of sorts. Hourly employees weren't considered as "professional" as exempt employees. It wasn't major, and I don't think anyone mentions it now, but it was a cause of grumbling at the time.

Re:Happened here (5, Insightful)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443161)

What's strange is that there was a loss of prestige of sorts.

That's a really interesting point. I think the loss of prestige is a major factor of grumbling. Although I cannot determine if being classified as hourly is the source of the issue or if the rank and file hourly archetype is to blame.

At every company I have ever worked for, the hourlies rarely took any initiative to change anything. There were always plenty of complaints from this group, but rarely were there any potential solutions offered.

Was this a side effect of being an hourly worker? Did they feel they had no leverage or voice to influence change? Did they feel that their job classification put their jobs on a precipice and rocking the boat might get them fired?

Does being classified as an hourly worker limit your growth potential in a company? That varies by company to company, but I can understand how the perception might be that it would. I can see discontentment arising out of having a ceiling thrown on your career ladder, even if that ceiling is just a perception.

I made more hourly... (4, Informative)

CasperIV (1013029) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443535)

When I worked hourly, I made more money then salary with equal positions. With an hourly position you always have the potential for at least some overtime. The only reason people don't like hourly pay is because it doesn't sound as official as salary and because it means they actually have to show up to be paid. Think of it this way, $50,000 a year is only $27 per hour if you work 5 days a week and have paid holidays and such. With benefits such as health care and the like, you are actually making around $35-$45 depending. Know, let's add a little over time. Let's say I wanted to work for time and a half another 8 hours a week (a pretty low number for someone who really wants to work). That's ($27 * 1.5) = $40.50 * 8 hours a week * 4 in a month = $1296 per month extra. Over a year that can earn an extra $15,552 from just 8 hours a week overtime. That's more then some minimum wage jobs and it doesn't even factor double time. If you think salary is a great deal, your mistaken. That hourly guy making 10k less then you actually might be making more then you in the end.

Re:That's fed law. (4, Informative)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443049)

Often times in instances such as this, some hourly workers realize they are legally entitled to overtime pay and start thinking that the perks don't compensate them at the same level. Google is probably instituting these policies to avoid hassles with the labor board (or whatever it is called in California).

I've worked at several companies where they made everybody "salary" to avoid paying overtime, even though legally they were in the wrong. Some employee waits until he has a new job, then reports the former company and often recovers quite a bit of money as well as forcing the company to start paying overtime to everybody else entitled to it.

Re:That's fed law. (2, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443091)

That's the law. If you are classified as an hourly worker you MUST take at least a 30 minute lunch break and have a 15 minute break for every 4 hours you work. Overtime is also regulated in a similar way.

But not paying people for their lunch breaks isn't a requirement of the law.

Re:That's fed law. (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443199)

I think this goes back to the mandatory overtime pay issue. They don't want to pay overtime AND pay them to eat lunch.

Re:That's fed law. (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443335)

When I worked at McDonalds they gave you a sandwich (quarter pounder or big mac), a large fry, and a soda on your lunch break, which you got after 4 hours of work.

Reclassified Though!?! (1)

Slipgrid (938571) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443109)

The part that gets me is the reclassified as hourly. If I moved across the country to work for them, took a lower pay to do it, and then got reclassified, I'd be angry.

Re:That's fed law. (1)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443115)

That's the law. If you are classified as an hourly worker you MUST take at least a 30 minute lunch break and have a 15 minute break for every 4 hours you work. Overtime is also regulated in a similar way.

True, but every job Ive ever had paid you for those 15 minute breaks. Including working as a temp at the US Postal Service.

Re:That's fed law. (4, Informative)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443235)

Did every one of those jobs have a labor union?

I know that the paid breaks as a postal worker did not come from the US Government being nice. They were a result of Postal Worker Unions negotiating benefits.

Labor Unions have forced a lot of companies into giving their hourly employees benefits not mandated by law.

Re:That's fed law. (1)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443303)

My experience with regard to paid 15 minute breaks is the same as the grandparent's and none of those involved a union. Most of the companies I've seen just do it because, and this is just speculation, making people keep track of every time they go to the bathroom is horribly demoralizing and would lead to them losing talent.

Unpaid breaks? (1)

iceperson (582205) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443287)

I worked at wal-mart in HS and even they gave 2 paid 15 min breaks.

Re:That's fed law. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18443395)

Whats missing here is the story of what the perks of working for Google mean, and the contrast of these temp jobs.

Google, has catered Lunches and Dinners, hell probably even breakfasts and snacks whenever you wanted. All you have to do is walk to the Minimum, one per floor snack rooms for your choice of literally a hundred different, drinks and food stuffs.

Then there is the spend one hour a day doing what you enjoy for clearer or creative thinking later. And lets not forget the exercize balls and equipment, or the massage therapists on every floor.

The grumbling is probably coming from the fact that these perks are being waved in front of people who don't benefit from google's Philosophy but have to work next to it.

How do restaurants get around it? (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443649)

if it's Fed Law. I worked in one for years, and seldom got a break.

Crybabies (0, Troll)

Azghoul (25786) | more than 7 years ago | (#18442823)

Sounds like a bunch of damn crybabies to me. Waaaa waaaaa, I'm hourly! Give me a break.

Re:Crybabies (2, Insightful)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#18442877)

I'm sure I speak for a lot of the IT industry in saying: I'd love to be hourly! Man, If I got paid a flat rate for the hours I actually worked, I'd be rolling in cash--almost literally.

So, in short to Google workers: STFU & GBTW!

Re:Crybabies (1)

GundamFan (848341) | more than 7 years ago | (#18442889)

Exactly... I'm "hourly" (full time and permanent but not "salaried" per say) and I do just fine, I like being compensated when my work invades my personal time.

Re:Crybabies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18443275)

I think you mean "per se", not "per say".

I hope that helps, have a nice day.

Re:Crybabies (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443047)

So are you going to be handing down Justice to them, Raz?

Re:Crybabies (1)

dwayner79 (880742) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443477)

Actually they don't want to be given a break. That's the point of the story.

Re:Crybabies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18443529)

Funny how people like the parent poster actually come off as bigger crybabies than those they complain about..

Re:Crybabies (2, Informative)

OldeTimeGeek (725417) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443587)

In California, breaks aren't something that the employee gets a choice in.

California labor code requires employers allow one 30-minute lunch break (unpaid) and two 10-minute breaks during an eight hour day. Whether an employer pays the employee during the short break is up to the employer (most do), but not allowing breaks at all will generally result in a law suit.

Best Employer (1, Interesting)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 7 years ago | (#18442827)

Since when does being 'the best employer' mean you have to let your employees walk all over you? Pay them what they're worth, send them away when they're done.

Re:Best Employer (2, Insightful)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443401)

The only thing I can say is that I really hope you aren't running a business, because if you are, you have a great deal to learn.

As a business, you're not just paying employees to do work. You're paying them (in the form of money, benefits, and culture) to do work for *you* instead of for your competitors.

It's about more than money. It's also a matter of respect. Tick off your workers enough, and they'll go to work for someone else.

Re:Best Employer (5, Interesting)

Bacon Bits (926911) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443411)

"There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible." -- Henry Ford

Libertarians will kindly note that Henry Ford died in 1947.

Remember when (5, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#18442839)

Anyone remember when a worker would just go in, get hired by a company, and work for them? Now it seems like everything but the most professional jobs are getting outsourced either oversees or to temp, staffing services, and contractor agencies.

How many people here still work for companies where the secretaries and janitors (sorry, don't have the inclination to use the newer politically-correct terms) actually are full-time, fully-vested, non-contracted company employees? I'm praying there are are least a few of you who do.

Re:Remember when (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443209)

No offense, and not to rock the boat or anything, but who cares? My uncle works as an independent contractor. He gets hired to do jobs, and after the job is done, he's "guaranteed unemployment". He doesn't get vestiture in every organization he ever does work for. So what? What's so sacred about that?

Re:Remember when (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443255)

Now it seems like everything but the most professional jobs are getting outsourced either oversees or to temp, staffing services, and contractor agencies.
Don't forget replaced by machines; I'm sure many slashdotters are responsible for people losing a job.
It might suck for the person losing the job, but in a macroeconomic sense improved capital efficiency isn't a bad thing.

Come work in the AEC industry (2, Interesting)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443329)

Architecture/Engineering firms typically hire everybody, and everybody is in-house, form the mail room to the partners. Of course, everybody but the partners get paid poorly and work long hours without overtime (exempt folks, that is), so it's not like you're getting off scott free. Oh, and layoffs are pretty common as the building market swings up and down. *shrug*

Re:Come work in the AEC industry (1)

simm1701 (835424) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443577)

Sorry but I don't work unpaid overtime.

I work damn hard in the hours I am working, but if more work needs to be done then:

either its impotant enough to preauthorise paying me for it

or

its not important enough to need doing

There is no middle ground.

And yes as you might have guessed I'm a contractor, but I've been permanant too and had the same attitude there, I never refused extra work but my response has always been the same "Sure I can do that, is the extra time authorised? Get back to me when it is" the manager then usually goes away at that point and either comes back with a yes it is, or drops the matter

Re:Remember when (2, Interesting)

Dan Ost (415913) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443639)

Every time I've been involved in replacing manual work with some sort of automation,
nobody has ever lost a job. However, they do get less overtime pay now.

Re:Remember when (4, Insightful)

sashapup (1025115) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443291)

Let's play this one out a bit. You work for a company that makes widgets. Your company is really really good at making widgets. Janitorial services are definitely not the forte of anyone directly responsible for the normal operations of making and selling these widgets.

Why add an in-house service that you're obviously not good at when there are plenty of local janitorial service companies that you can contract out to and be more capable of at least telling whether or not the contracted company is doing a good or bad job at it?

Note, I do know that it's harder to tell on some things whether the contracted company is doing a good job without internal working knowledge. But janitation... pretty easy to tell that the toilets, bathrooms, carpets aren't being cleaned.

Re:Remember when (1)

Canthros (5769) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443347)

I don't even see how this is relevant, but I wonder if Google's policy wrt temps isn't just that, if they aren't willing to hire you after a year, you're probably not worth keeping around?

Re:Remember when (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443375)

My last 3 companies (including current) and my wife's last 5 companies regarding secretaries. The janitorial staff is a mixed bag - night crew is contracted across the board. Day time janitors are generally employees.

In only rare cases were they vested employees similar to individual contributors.

I don't,... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18443379)

How many people here still work for companies where the secretaries and janitors (sorry, don't have the inclination to use the newer politically-correct terms) actually are full-time, fully-vested, non-contracted company employees?.
...my employer outsources, janitorial, security and cleaning services. The house hasn't been properly cleaned since they started this policy, and this despite the fact that they are now doing business with their third janitorial/security/cleaning service contractor. There is a toilet in one of the men's rooms that hasn't flushed properly in over 6 months, the only way to get rid of the stench wen some idiot has walked past the 'BROKEN!' sign and takes a dump in it, is to pour a bucket of water into the bowl and flush the toilet that way. Every time we complain about this somebody from our ever vigilant janitorial/security/cleaning services contractor shows up, hangs around for about 30 minutes, leaves and then nothing changes. Security?... well... security is a joke. The reason why things are like this has mostly to do with the fact that the contractor firms that hire out cleaning, security and janitorial staff pay wages that are so low it borders on being an insult with the result that their employees are not motivated to do their jobs properly and usually leave the instant they can get a better job. As for personal assistants, those are only for PHB's, there are department secretaries, roughly 1 per 15 employees who handle things like stationary purchases, keeping printers running, etc.. plus general secretarial work both secretaries and PAs are hired full-time. As for IT contractors the PHB's finally decided it wasn't worth it due to generally low average code quality and the costs generated by people constantly having to putting out brushfires instead of doing more productive work. This has also adversely affected our customer's perception of our company's reliability. There were some contractors that did proper work (i.e. wrote proper OO code, documented it properly and used our source control system like a source control system and not like a flash drive), some of those have been hired by our company, others will be replaced by full-time employees as we are phasing out contractors as far as is possible. As for myself, I am currently waiting for the next fad in employment policy.... I hope it will be as entertaining as this outsourcing farce has been.

Re:Remember when (1)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443465)

How many people here still work for companies where the secretaries and janitors (sorry, don't have the inclination to use the newer politically-correct terms) actually are full-time, fully-vested, non-contracted company employees? I'm praying there are are least a few of you who do.
Where I work almost all secretaries are full time, fully vested employees with pension and profit sharing. We have some maintenance staff that is also the same way. Most of the day to day cleaning or major facility projects are handled by outside companies.

Re:Remember when (1)

EngMedic (604629) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443605)

How many people here still work for companies where the secretaries and janitors (sorry, don't have the inclination to use the newer politically-correct terms) actually are full-time, fully-vested, non-contracted company employees? I'm praying there are are least a few of you who do.
I do! .. Then again, we have 56 employees total, 90% of which have a technical degree of some sort (including the CEO, he's an EE). Go small r&d business!

Re:Remember when (2, Informative)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443651)

Anyone remember when a worker would just go in, get hired by a company, and work for them? Now it seems like everything but the most professional jobs are getting outsourced either oversees or to temp, staffing services, and contractor agencies. How many people here still work for companies where the secretaries and janitors (sorry, don't have the inclination to use the newer politically-correct terms) actually are full-time, fully-vested, non-contracted company employees? I'm praying there are are least a few of you who do.

In part, you can thank the well-meaning labor laws passed in the last 30 years that
1) basically make it damn near impossible for an employee to fire anyone for cause, and
2) put the burden of the government's failed social programs onto employers

In addition:
3) It's much easier for managers to hide financials from upper management and board of directors when using contractors, salaries are hard to hide.
4) It's a popular way of doing 'try before you buy' - companies don't want to be stuck practically forever with an underperforming employee, so they want you to do contractor or temp status for a few months before signing you on as an employee.

For good or bad, there are a lot of reasons companies use contractors. And as you're seeing here, it's not limited to the low end of the totem pole - I've seen six-figure contracting jobs (and been offered some). Personally, I'm not interested in that sort of thing. Especially when any relocation is involved - no way I'm moving across the damned country for a 3-month tryout.

After all (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18442841)


Someone must work to compensate the 20% of time every employee can waste in preposterous projects.

Starting date: April 1. (-1, Offtopic)

Runefox (905204) | more than 7 years ago | (#18442847)

OMGPONIES!?!!?11

Re:Starting date: April 1. (1)

Klaus_1250 (987230) | more than 7 years ago | (#18442965)

Perhaps it is because I'm European, but, isn't this just some misplaced 1ste April Fools joke? I mean, if it was serious, they'd never would have picked the first of April as a starting date.

Re:Starting date: April 1. (2, Insightful)

slashbob22 (918040) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443165)

Could be based on an accounting Fiscal Year. For many organizations this is April 1 - March 31.

Time to Sell the GOOG stock.. (1, Troll)

tgatliff (311583) | more than 7 years ago | (#18442849)

This is the best indication that their money machine has run out of ink... :-)

Anytime a company starts to watch internal costs this close it means that they are having problems getting gross incomes to rise.

Re:Time to Sell the GOOG stock.. (2, Informative)

eck011219 (851729) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443015)

Indeed, but keep in mind the scale we're talking about -- Google may have just noticed that it's making only stacks of money now, not big steaming piles of it. They'd be smart to cut costs NOW instead of waiting for crisis. I doubt they're about to fold.

Now on the other hand, I think pissing off your employees may well reduce motivation and productivity enough to offset much of the savings (particularly in a creativity-driven place like Google). I know they're the hourly folk, and I know it's federal law (though the law doesn't say anything about where they have to eat -- if they want to eat at their desk and are thinking about work while they do, I think that's still okay by law). And it could well be that we're talking more about grunts than creative types. But I can't imagine that it's worth the savings to have your entire support staff grumbling and calling your decisions "retarded."

It seems like such a strange morale killer that I wonder if they're cracking down now so they can respond to employee wishes and retract it all later to great fanfare. I'm not typically a conspiracy theorist, but this one seems so different from how Google is rumored to operate.

Re:Time to Sell the GOOG stock.. (1)

tgatliff (311583) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443493)

Yes I agree that being proactive on reducing costs is good, but this is not traditionally the personality of Google because they did not have to in the past...

Keep in mind that Googles net margins are quite high... When a company has billions in net margins with analyists saying gross earnings will rise about 75%, this employment change is rather odd...

With this change, I suspect they are now indicating that their gross % rise will slow.. Of course if they gave some yearly guidance on this issue, it would help to end speculation, but they wont..

Re:Time to Sell the GOOG stock.. (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443087)

The best indication? How about getting a financial report? They are a public company, you don't need to look for signs.

Re:Time to Sell the GOOG stock.. (1)

MagusSlurpy (592575) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443311)

You mean like WorldCom?

Re:Time to Sell the GOOG stock.. (1)

tgatliff (311583) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443341)

Keep in mind I am not talking about a collapsing company... Google has a solid business model, but has always been plagued with only having only one main source of income... Also, GOOG's net margins has been up to this point about 26%, which is better than even Microsoft.. With net margins in the billions, they should not have to worry about "little" items such as employment... If they do, then it would indicate that they are watching it more closely rather than focusing on expanding their business...

Also, as far as waiting for the financial report, GOOG does not give future guidance, and is definitely known for this "vague" reporting. For example, what is their fraud click rate on their partners program? Your guess is as good as mine, because they do not report this their 10Q or 10K. This in spite of many industry analysts saying that the number could be as large as 20% click thru rates.

In short, Google is a good company and has made allot of money for stock holders, but tomarrow is what is important from an investing standpoint, not yesterday....

Yeah .. that's how it works. (2, Informative)

ahknight (128958) | more than 7 years ago | (#18442851)

If you're hourly, it's a federal requirement to take at least a 30 minute lunch break and get two 15 minute breaks during an eight hour day.

The year-long contracts thing has been done-to-death in the employment world, especially in tech employment. This is nothing new or special, either.

provide a citation please (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443171)

cause it is not a federal law...

Re:Yeah .. that's how it works. (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443267)

Well, what's new is that google is doing it.

Re:Yeah .. that's how it works. (2)

daigu (111684) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443455)

The fact that it is a common U.S. business practice doesn't make it right or even smart. I'll bet that setting your business up for mandatory yearly turnover is a good way to lose a lot of intangible value - incomplete projects, lost knowledge, limited worker involvement/productivity, etc. The intangible value is exactly what people looking at the short-term bottom line miss.

Then again, I'd also bet that Google knows this but is using hourly workers as a way to fill the gaps that are created by their explosive growth. If you are committed to hiring good people but have more work than the staff you have can do, you have to have a mechanism for dealing with the work load.

If you don't take care of the people that make business possible - your employees, you eventually are going to sink your business. Nowhere is this more true than in businesses that rely upon the ideas of their employees - such as the tech sector.

Gah (2, Informative)

Alioth (221270) | more than 7 years ago | (#18442859)

Since when is offering temporary jobs a terrible thing to do? If you apply for one, you know _up front_ that it's a temporary position. It's not like they are baiting-and-switching anyone.

Re:Gah (3, Insightful)

winkydink (650484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443273)

When you do it in a systematic way to avoid hiring employees as regular, full-time workers to avoid paying benefits. MSFT lost a big lawsuit in the early '90's over this. A little research with your favorite search engine should give you the background.

Re:Gah (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443457)

I'm always confused as to why people get outraged over this. Remember, they're not worth hiring if they have to provide some additional mandated benefit. Yet most workers would prefer the extra hours, even if the benefits wouldn't attach. So instead, they end up taking two part times jobs, neither of which pays benefits, even though either employer would have been willing to provide the same hours as both together.

So, explain to me how that's better than working at one place for the "full time" hours but no benefits?

Re:Gah (1)

AusIV (950840) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443473)

I agree, I was kind of scratching my head on that one. As a college student, the past several jobs I've had were times I knew I'd be available for x amount of time. I've gotten jobs every summer break, every winter break, and one spring break - employment for three months, three weeks, and one week respectively. I knew I wasn't going to be available after that time, and I didn't want to mislead my potential employers.

It's easy to see a college student being available for such periods of time, but I can see other times temporary positions would also be practical. If someone is only going to be available for a year, it's probably best for both parties if they're in a job intended for someone who will be around a year. If I were desperate for a job, and Google was offering a one year position, I'd certainly keep in mind that it was a one year position, and I might hope to prove myself and get rehired after the year was up, but I'd hardly fault Google for only needing someone for a year - so long as they're making it clear up front.

Some of the other practices mentioned here might be a little bit more unfair to employees, but I'd hardly call offering temporary jobs a sign of a bad employer.

smells fishy... (1)

pjr.cc (760528) | more than 7 years ago | (#18442861)

something about the date makes me think it could actually be a whole lot worse ;)

Oh come on... (2, Informative)

milamber3 (173273) | more than 7 years ago | (#18442875)

I'm sure Google needs the ability to hire workers who will not spend 20% of their time on passion projects and who they can set to a fixed schedule. Not everyone at a large company will have the kind of work ethic that they enjoyed when it was still a smaller workplace. This is not some awful evil thing they are doing. It is the natural progression in the growth of a large company.

Re:Oh come on... (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18442959)

Why should we believe that the work ethic of early employees would be better than those who come later? I've worked both at startups and large established companies and I haven't seen any significant difference in the dedication of workers.

Duh, it's the law (4, Informative)

throatmonster (147275) | more than 7 years ago | (#18442883)

There are fairly strict laws about who is allowed to be an 'exempt' employee (exempt from hourly labor laws). Most of Google's administrative staff aren't going to qualify. They have to be put on the clock, and paid overtime if they work more than 40 a week. There are benefits to being an hourly worker.

Re: Duh, it's the law (4, Informative)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 7 years ago | (#18442991)

> There are fairly strict laws about who is allowed to be an 'exempt' employee (exempt from hourly labor laws). Most of Google's administrative staff aren't going to qualify. They have to be put on the clock, and paid overtime if they work more than 40 a week. There are benefits to being an hourly worker.

Yes, like not being 'exempt' from overtime pay.

Re:Duh, it's the law (1)

jconley (28741) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443351)

Ok, lets make this clear

Hourly and Salary do not equal exempt or non-exempt

Houlry/salary is the way an employee is paid.

Exempt/Non-exempt determines if an employee is eligible for overtime.

You can be an salary/non-exempt employee. You get a fixed weekly salary, and overtime based on work over 40 hours (or 8 hours/day based on your state)

You can also be an exempt hourly employee. Exempt/non-exempt status is based on goverment regulation, hourly vs. salary is based on employer choice.

One above the Lowest Common Denominator? (1)

grudgelord (963249) | more than 7 years ago | (#18442895)

What does it say about corporate employment in this country when Google can slide down the slope and still remain more desirable than almost any other employer out there? This doesn't sound like Google did an analysis of their employment practices so much as a "Consulting Firm" did an analysis and recommended a series of cost cutting measures, which begs the question, "Why is Google suddenly concerned about small matters like a paid lunch break when they weren't before?" Financial trouble?

Re:One above the Lowest Common Denominator? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18443429)

I think you mean "raises the question", not "begs the question".

I hope that helps, have a nice day.

hit the throne (1)

bigwavejas (678602) | more than 7 years ago | (#18442915)

the porcelain palace and your ps2 and you can relax for hours. make sure to grab the luxurious handicap stall.

What;'s Funny is.. (0)

NotFamous (827147) | more than 7 years ago | (#18442969)

I'm staring at a Google ad on this page. Priceless!

Re:What;'s Funny is.. (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443317)

Please turn in your geek card on your way out. Real geeks don't see ads.

what did you really expect? (1)

tecie (834046) | more than 7 years ago | (#18442975)

This is a public corporation. They're in this to make money.
If the rest of the industry can do this, then so can Google.
Loyalty on either side of the employer relationship means nothing.
I worked as a contractor (glorified temp) for a well known tech megacorp for years. If I learned anything in that time, it's that this trend is only going to get worse until something happens that causes a serious shortage of qualified people. Such an event would be serious labor law (as well as exchange rate) changes in India, Brazil, Eastern Europe and China. Only then will it swing so far into favor of tech workers that we'll be able to start demanding things again, like job security.
Unfortunately, that's unlikely.
My best advice would be to hone your skills and continue learning so you become an invaluable resource at your current or future company. The upside to it is, if you're in this industry because you genuinely enjoy your skill, then this should not be a big change.

Re:what did you really expect? (1)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443595)

This is a public corporation. They're in this to make money.

I guess it's too much to ask for people to not be idiots before they post, but c'mon. Only certain types of jobs are exempt from hourly labor laws, and the mandatory lunch break and two short breaks are FORCED on Google by the government. This has NOTHING to do with Google being a public corporation or trying to make money. All these "worker protection" laws just screw the workers.

my problem with the Google work environment ... (4, Insightful)

boxlight (928484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443003)

The problem I would have with the Google work environment is that it all appears to be geared to getting you to spend as many hours as possible at the office.

That is, the free food, and fun corporate events are all nice and everything; but my sense is that in return you're pretty much expected to work extremely long hours, to make your job your life.

IMO, it's extremely important -- crucial even -- to have a separate work life and home life. Work hard from 9-to-5 but then drop everything and go home, spend the evening with your wife and family. Forget about work and come back fresh the next day. Google doesn't seem to emphasize that. It appears when you work at Google, you work there 24/7. I don't think that's necessarily a healthy approach.

Still -- looks like a very fun place to work. If you are allowed to go home at the end of the day. ;-)

boxlight

That's why I love my job. (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443111)

We work overtime when needed, there is alot of support for balancing work and life. Telecommuting is a big plus, as is flexible work hours. As long as I make netmeetings and conference calls and hit my targets, they don't care when I get the work done.

Re:That's why I love my job. (1)

boxlight (928484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443159)

> We work overtime when needed, there is alot of support for balancing work and life. > Telecommuting is a big plus, as is flexible work hours. As long as I make netmeetings > and conference calls and hit my targets, they don't care when I get the work done.

Thanks for the response. That sounds very reasonable, indeed. Where do I sign up? ;-)

boxlight

Re:my problem with the Google work environment ... (1)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443471)

The problem I would have with the Google work environment is that it all appears to be geared to getting you to spend as many hours as possible at the office. That is, the free food, and fun corporate events are all nice and everything; but my sense is that in return you're pretty much expected to work extremely long hours, to make your job your life. IMO, it's extremely important -- crucial even -- to have a separate work life and home life. Work hard from 9-to-5 but then drop everything and go home, spend the evening with your wife and family. Forget about work and come back fresh the next day. Google doesn't seem to emphasize that. It appears when you work at Google, you work there 24/7. I don't think that's necessarily a healthy approach. Still -- looks like a very fun place to work. If you are allowed to go home at the end of the day. ;-)
I'm wounding if perhaps you have conflated cause and effect. It seems possible that Google has many employees who are basically workaholics. They enjoy their job, and don't mind staying late. Could it be that Google is just catering to its employees desires, rather than trying to entice workers to become workaholic?

I don't understand.. (1)

zyl0x (987342) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443027)

INAL, but I'm pretty sure Google is obeying the law here. Hourly workers are governed by a lot of employment laws that salary workers are not. The above-mentioned compulsory lunch breaks, as an example.

Is this poster complaining about Google, or are they praising? A news story is no place for excessive sarcasm.

Re:I don't understand.. (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443425)

Is this poster complaining about Google, or are they praising? A news story is no place for excessive sarcasm.

I'm not sure myself. Who is the second class citizen here: the guy reclassified as hourly who now gets overtime, or the "exempt" employee who can be required to put in as much unpaid overtime as the supervisor wants?

A lot of workers these days are classified as "exempt" from overtime because they are the "Network Backup Manager", or the "Administrative Assistant", or "Security Professional" or whatever. Put the word "manage", or "administrate", or "executive" in the title to make it appear that the position is actually managerial, administrative or professional. When in reality, they aren't a manager of anyone. If you look at their "office", they are clearly not "executive", and don't get me started on who gets called "professional" anymore. The whole idea is to pay them less than you would if they were hourly.

April fool's (2, Insightful)

Vlijmen Fileer (120268) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443061)

April 1st, really ...

Re:April fool's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18443373)

Just like when GMail was announced. "Har har, everyone will think we're JOKING! But we're totally not."

zeroth class is IPO zillionaires (0)

peter303 (12292) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443187)

Sometimes there is distance between the few early IPO employees who you know dont really have to work for a living anymore and those who follow later.

Re:zeroth class is IPO zillionaires (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18443487)

This is the dark side of IPO's: the have's vs. the have not's.

Google has some billionaires. You have many more people who are multi-millionaires. Some of them do the exact same job as the people going hourly - but they were hired pre-IPO. The Adwords worker who made a million dollars in stock options probably doesn't care so much about going hourly. Sure he might be annoyed and might leave the company, but he has his money. However, the new hire sitting next to him that's struggling to live on his $50K salary in Silicon Valley is probably going into depression.

I've been through this a few times. There is nothing quit like having a co-worker doing the same job as you who has collectively been paid 5000% of your compensation.

April first... (1)

Arielholic (196983) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443193)

... early this year.

Re:April first... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18443653)

Had to be early to trick everyone. And look at these posts.. it certainly did.

PSSTT people that are yelling about this article its tagged *aprilfools*.

Isn't it quite normal ? (1)

BlueTrin (683373) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443205)

In a capitalist model, if you are not happy, you are free to look for a better job somewhere else ? If you are not happy about the package they are offering you, you can just knock at some other door if you have valuable skills (or skills more valued by another company) ? I do not understand what the fuss is about ...

Re:Isn't it quite normal ? (1)

vidarh (309115) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443307)

That only works in a market where all parties have full access to all information. Providing potential employees with information about how potential employers behaves is a vital part of that. Google has for a long time tried to portrayed itself as all saintly, and has had a reputation in some circles for being an amazing place to work - now some things have changed that might change that reputation, and hence people make a fuss. What's so hard to understand? If nobody made a fuss, a lot of people would keep raving about Google and some people might end up making stupid choices.

It is pretty hilarious that you drag out "a capitalist model" but ignore that spread of information is one of the most important parts of a well functioning market.

Re:Isn't it quite normal ? (1)

BlueTrin (683373) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443467)

Yeah I am not implying that the article is wrong (like you just said, more information is better). It is just that alot of replies are quite negative and it surprised me ... IMHO just reporting it and saying that Google is not the place it used to be is enough to spread the information.
I agree, anyway, eventually, if they get too far, their reputation about being a good employer is gonna fade. But again ... that is quite normal, isn't it ?

only a matter of time (2, Interesting)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443217)

I think a lot of people smelled this one coming and it was only a matter of time before it hits. Many industries are going to outsourcing and nowhere is the impact more visible than on the devoted employee. I checked one of the links and was sickened by the fact that the appeal to Bill Gates for assistance from a quasi-temp with brain cancer and raising a family as a single parent went unheeded. If I was even a minor functionary at Microsoft and I saw that letter, I would make certain it got routed to the Chairman somehow. Are we so self-preserving that we cannot help out another human being? This even sickens me further because Gates runs a charitable foundation. I guess it must only be "en vogue" to help foreign countries because a blind eye was turned to a legitimate plea here at home.

I am not a particularly religious person but a rabbi once lectured on charity and its importance to being a good citizen. He even said that, "The highest form of charity is the anonymous donation." He said also said that true charity is not supporting a cause celebre. My cheers to those who stepped in to help that quasi-Microsoft employee. Your assistance was in the true spirit of charity.

Short on details (3, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443283)

The story is so short on details it's hard to form any opinion. For example, how many people will be affected and what kind of jobs? Are we talking 100 people? Are talking about jobs that may be temporary by definition (receptionists, contractors, etc.) or unskilled labor (janitors, garage attendants, security guards). Other companies like HP have had the same issues with "permatemps" and how to properly classify them. Other than linking to the same company as the Microsoft fiasco, it really serves no other purpose than to take a cheap shot at Google.

In the MS case, MS had people working at the same jobs as skilled salaried employees for years. But what irked the judge in the case what Microsoft did in the case. As soon as the lawsuit was initiated, Microsoft lawyers drafted an agreement that they tried to get all their temporary employees to sign that would relinquish all their rights to sue Microsoft for labor violations. It was insinuated that those who did not sign could not work for Microsoft. The judge sua sponte quashed the agreements. In the end, the courts ruled that they should have had rights to participate in the employee stock option program.

From TFA: (3, Interesting)

Brunellus (875635) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443285)

threat of a black mark on the review of anyone who fails to punch in properly to the time-tracking window on their desktops. "Retarted." says our disgruntled informant.

Guess we know why that monkey's punching a clock. Welcome to the real world, kids, where the boss wants you at work on time. I work a similarly menial job. What I want to know is what the hourly wage for clock-punching down at the Googleplex is, and whether it beats my current wage.

With everything they do still in Beta (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443319)

You'd think they'd be nicer to theirs.

What about EA? (1)

CPE1704TKS (995414) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443323)

Funny, when the programmers at EA got switched to hourly, were made eligible for OT, etc, it was hailed as a victory. Somehow at Google, the same action makes them a second class citizen.

FWIW, my company does the same thing (I work in Silicon Valley as well). I am non-exempt, work from 10 to 7 or 8 every day, and I don't get any of the Google perks, and get no OT. I just don't see how this means that Google is turning the corner into evil territory.

"Informant" (1)

R3s0lut3 (861752) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443337)

The chief source for this story is a disgruntled "informant" inside the googleplex. To this I say: just because one person at google hates his job doesn't mean they're shafting a whole segment of their workforce. Come back when you have data, not just a data point.

the article cited is from March 21st (1)

stuartrobinson (1003887) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443383)

As usual, no one bothers to read the article that is linked to. You'll notice that its publication date is March 21st. So the original article isn't an April Fool's Day joke.

Blame the Law and Laywers, not Google... (2, Informative)

nweaver (113078) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443517)

These are the rules for nonexempt employees.

Previously, many high-tech companies classified effectively everyone as "exempt" as a way of avoiding overtime. There are major law firms who make money suing such companies, their adds are all over BART in the bay area.

This is simply Google actually complying with employment law, reclassifying a large number of employees as nonexempt, so they either have to get paid overtime or go home.

Clearly no one is here from management today (1)

Alpha830RulZ (939527) | more than 7 years ago | (#18443559)

This was inevitable. Workers that don't perform certain types of duties or have certain types of qualifications HAVE to be treated as hourly as far as both state and federal labor law is concerned. This just isn't optional, and when a company gets to a certain size, they are a delicious target for plaintiff's lawyers.

If Google does not follow these practices, then a plaintiff's attorney can find someone who worked 8.5 hours regularly, get that person as a plaintiff, assert that 1000 other workers are similarly abused, and seek class action status. If the court were to find that those workers averaged .5 hours OT a day, over a 250 day work year, at an average wage of $15 an hour, over three years it could easily find damages of $6,000,000. Assume for a second that the lawyer convinced a jury that it wasa really more like 3 hours a day, or any other distortion, and it could go up dramatically. Since plaintiff's attorneys commonly take these cases for 30% of the award, it's easy to imagine that lawyers would be eager to take this on.

This is, unfortunately, prudent management. Google management has a responsibility to be prudent with their shareholders' money, so this is absolutely ethical. What the moaners are failing to keep in mind is that jobs don't below to the workers, they belong to the company. The company is not to blame for the legal environment that makes this a rational act. The workers have the votes to change Congress, if they don't like what Congress did with the labor law.

Further, again from a management viewpoint, what makes a job humane, satisfying, fun, and all those other fulfilling words usually has little to do with the paycheck and the rules around how you collect it. It has more to do with the quality of the work, the people you are working with, and how your supervisor treats you. This has nothing to do with that.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?