At Google, there are two classes of workers: full-time employees and a shadow workforce of thousands of contractors. In fact, (GOOG) Google’s Alphabet Inc. employs so many contractors that temporary hires outnumbered the company’s directly hired employees, according to a 2018 report.
And now it’s being reported that an internal training document, seen by reporters at The Guardian, demonstrates exactly how the company instructs full-time employees to treat temps, vendors, and contractors, or, as Google classifies them, TVCs.
The internal training document, obtained by The Guardian, outlines the basics for employees working with TVCs. “Our policies exist because TVC working arrangements can carry significant risks,” the document reportedly reads.
Part of that risk management may be about how employees are identified, and what perks and privileges come with full-time versus contract or temporary employment. The training document includes guidelines on not giving TVCs company-branded t-shirts, which could be seen as a bonus or gift that counts as taxable income. The Guardian‘s report also details how these types of policies exclude contractors from team meetings, seemingly to safeguard proprietary information, but with other unintended results like altering a team’s workplace dynamic.
In an open letter addressed to CEO Sundar Pichai that was published on Dec. 5, a group of TVCs demanded equal benefits, higher wages, and access to the same vital information provided to full-time employees. The letter writers specifically noted that during the shooting at YouTube offices in April, “the company sent real-time security updates to full-time employees only, leaving TVCs defenseless in the line of fire.” Google said in a statement that some TVCs are given important information through a third-party employer (such as temp agency), which could explain a delay in conveyed warnings and updates in critical situations.
In November, at 50 Google offices worldwide, more than 20,000 Google employees and contractors staged a walk-out, protesting issues such as a non-inclusive workplace culture and sexual harassment and misconduct. Following the demonstration, Google ended its forced arbitration policy for handling sexual misconduct and assault claims—but only for full-time employees.