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Old 06-09-2014, 04:21 PM
 
Location: Seattle Area
1,716 posts, read 1,491,378 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MPowering1 View Post
I don't think it was the co-mingling of employees that got Microsoft into trouble. It was that they mandated that their independent contractors come in and working side-by-side with the employees, under the same supervision and rules as the employees - giving all control to Microsoft when it should have been with the independent contractor. The independent contractor can say they'll do the work at Microsoft, but it must be their choice, and they wouldn't be subject to all the same rules as the employees are.

The test the IRS uses has to do with who has the control over how the job is done. If the company has control, as Microsoft did, then they must be treated as employees subject to the same benefits, and not just the same company rules and policies.

This is for independent contractors, mind you, working directly with the company.
co-mingling was my literal description of the process, don't let it confuse the issue.. The correct legal terminology is coemployment and that is what has got many employers in trouble. Staying relevant to the OP's issue, many of the seemingly discriminatory practices towards contract employees falls under the legal description of coemployment....google it if you want to lnow more.
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Old 06-09-2014, 04:24 PM
 
Location: Maui County, HI
4,131 posts, read 6,064,045 times
Reputation: 3357
Quote:
Originally Posted by MPowering1 View Post
I don't think it was the co-mingling of employees that got Microsoft into trouble. It was that they mandated that their independent contractors come in and working side-by-side with the employees, under the same supervision and rules as the employees - giving all control to Microsoft when it should have been with the independent contractor. The independent contractor can say they'll do the work at Microsoft, but it must be their choice, and they wouldn't be subject to all the same rules as the employees are.

The test the IRS uses has to do with who has the control over how the job is done. If the company has control, as Microsoft did, then they must be treated as employees subject to the same benefits, and not just the same company rules and policies.

This is for independent contractors, mind you, working directly with the company.
The rules mean nothing. There is no enforcement and if you file a complaint nothing will happen. It sucks because being a "contractor" cost me thousands of dollars in taxes.
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Old 06-09-2014, 04:41 PM
Status: "Busy being triggered by pumpkins" (set 6 days ago)
 
Location: Suburb of Chicago
17,360 posts, read 8,542,942 times
Reputation: 18093
Everything I know about this issue comes down to this:

Many federal agencies rely on three factors identified by the IRS to determine whether an employer has correctly classified an individual as an independent contractor: behavioral control, financial control, and type of relationship.


Behavioral_Control: If a business has the right to direct and control the worker, then the worker is an employee, not an independent contractor. Independent contractors tend to have their own tools and equipment, choose where they will perform the work, and determine the sequence in which they will perform the work. Employees are provided with tools and equipment by the business, work at a location designated by the business, and receive detailed instruction in how to perform the work. Independent contractors usually do not receive evaluations except, perhaps, of the end product. Employees receive performance evaluations that measure the details of how the work is performed. Independent contractors generally receive no training from the business, whereas employees often receive training on doing the job a certain way.


Financial_Control: Independent contractors often have an investment in the equipment used to perform work for someone else, whereas employees use the tools provided by the business. Independent contractors are more likely to have to incur their own expenses, whereas businesses will reimburse employees for expenses such as mileage. If the individual has the opportunity to make a profit or loss, that weighs toward the individual being a contractor. Contractors are free to work elsewhere and seek out other business opportunities through advertisements and often have their own visible business locations. Independent contractors tend to receive a flat fee for a job, whereas employees are paid based on the amount of time worked.


Type_of_Relationship: Even though an agreement signed by the business and individual may describe the relationship as one between a business and an independent contractor, the IRS is not required to observe those terms. Instead, it looks at how the parties work together. Contractors generally do not receive benefits such as insurance, paid vacation, and sick leave, whereas employees do. Contractors are generally retained for a specific project, whereas employees are hired for an indefinite time period. And if the work engaged in by the individual is a key aspect of the business, it is more likely that the individual is an employee. For example, if an accounting firm retains a certified public accountant, it may be difficult to argue that she is an independent contractor.


There is no set combination of the above factors that can definitively answer whether someone is an independent contractor or an employee. The IRS and federal agencies look at these factors on a case-by-case basis and evaluate the overall working relationship.
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Old 06-09-2014, 06:56 PM
 
1,116 posts, read 1,850,731 times
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My career since graduating college has ONLY been a series of contract/temp work, and I can definitely relate to your post. The most glaring difference is just feeling ousted from the rest of the team. People tend to look at you as either invisible or not worth paying attention to you. Contract workers are treated as nothing more than a cog in the machine to play a very specific part. No benefits, sick days, PTO, couldn't partake in company events, not allowed to share opinions even if asked, and all the other stuff you mentioned in the OP. Really sad there's such a big line between FTEs and Contractors.
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Old 06-09-2014, 08:59 PM
 
Location: NYC
11,821 posts, read 7,695,291 times
Reputation: 12814
I'm sure that most companies that uses about 40% contractors on-site is not a good place to be FTE unless you are mid-level management. And most FTEs are less current and relevant if they were to get laid off would have the hardest time finding jobs in this job market today. How many jobs are out there that just delegates work to contractors?

As for the coffee signs, why would you even care about on-site amenities? You should be glad they offer you an office chair instead of a fold-able chair.

And why would you want to attend company parties and celebrations? Many FTEs don't attend them unless mandatory. Unless you are a shareholder why even bother attending? You're celebrating their financial gains not yours.

Yes, FTEs spends a lot of time backstabbing each other especially at large companies where it is a constant power struggle and as a contractor if another group that does not like your sponsor they may still recruit your service if they respect your work.

Last edited by vision33r; 06-09-2014 at 09:16 PM..
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Old 06-09-2014, 09:13 PM
 
874 posts, read 1,034,212 times
Reputation: 1589
Wow! Now, that is fascinating. Where I work, it's so integrated that I was actually shocked to learn certain people were contractors (and this was months down the line). You're definitely 2nd class on paper, though; zero benefits.
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Old 06-09-2014, 10:19 PM
 
Location: Kirkland, WA (Metro Seattle)
3,422 posts, read 2,816,376 times
Reputation: 5879
Quote:
Originally Posted by rzzz View Post
The OP sounds phony ("FTE only" signs on the coffee machine? yeah right...)

If it's real, you are doing it wrong.

I was a contractor for many years and the only difference between me and the other people was that I made three times as much money.
Amen to that last sentence. That's the whole point.

I was a vendor for many years at a big Seattle tech firm. Reading this thread, some of you had (have) it bad. I saw only moderate "workplace apartheid" across the years, most of it tolerable. Some, not so much, but then again: there's all kinds of justice in this world.

Trick is to level-set your own expectations: you are the HIRED HELP. First couple years, I incorrectly thought I had a seat at the table. That was put-paid in various ways, in good time. Finally, I quit on a week's notice during the dot.com boom and didn't have much to do with that client's technology for years. Closest I've ever come to walking off a client site.

Years later I worked there again, several clicks higher as a director of managed service delivery managing a team of talented individuals delivering a product. Every smarta__ comment from the client...and there were a few... cost them another billed hour that month, and same each month it happened again. I could probably rack up the number of dollars their smarta__ attitude cost them. Oh, we worked for that extra time we billed, all was on the level, but let's just say whippin' the mules ain't always the way to get to the goal faster?

Some of the items listed by OP, and others, are just in poor taste. Every big firm handles it differently, some better than others. Over the years, I racked up some serious coin, several homes, German sports cars, multiple motorcycles and seeded a great brokerage portfolio thanks to some of these firms since we pulled few punches on hours billed. Hell, thanks to that, I'm going to retire early in-fact (cross fingers). Thus, no regrets. It's nothing personal: I won by gaming the system they originally set up to screw people. Turning the tables is the only way to win.

Anyone in such a role making substantially less than the full-timers may wish to reconsider their position. The point is to not be involved and beat them at their own game. I'm shocked at some respondents who are "paid like crap" and enduring inhuman slights at every turn. Something definitely wrong there, people.

In contrast, I've now been on the other side of the desk a number of years. Rather than become Captain Bligh, I've made it a point to be better than that and treat vendors with a bit of extra respect: there is enough collective brainpower at some of those firms to warrant real respect for what they deliver. Price Waterhouse Coopers, Accenture, Avanade, etc. don't hire idiots and have well-considered delivery models, e.g.
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Old 06-10-2014, 12:45 AM
 
1,175 posts, read 1,489,441 times
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I've worked as a contractor/consultant for years and sometimes you're part of the team, other times you're treated like dirt. If you work for a big consulting firm, many FTE just don't like you no matter what. I have never seen any "FTE Only" signs on a coffee table, but I wouldn't be surprised if that was done at some companies I've worked on projects for.

I remember one project where most of the FTE staff liked me, but they hated the company I worked for and most of the FTE at that company hated the company I worked for. I was new to that company, but it was kind of shocking. And the VP and Managers hated the company I worked for so much that they tried to screw the project up on purpose. I needed access to certain company systems to get things started, but they never even approved a laptop for me. So I would go to meetings, do some whiteboard sessions, and then at the end of the week my status update was "still no laptop or badge to building or access to anything."

The following week the one VP didn't even say hello to me when I walked up to his cube. He literally ignored me and then finally got up and went off to some meeting. So after two weeks, the management wouldn't approve of any access or laptop. My Account Manager, who was never onsite, finally had a discussion and everything was supposed to be in order.

The following week goes by and it's the same crap. I have to call people to get into the building and get a temporary badge, sit in on meetings to try and help with best practices, try to ask everybody to try and get me access and it didn't matter. And then I come in the next week and I no longer have a cube, so I have to go and share a cube with some other consultant from my company. It's a small cube. I honestly stopped caring at that point. I was already traveling every week and onsite for over a month and I really couldn't actually do anything because I had no access to any of their systems, no access to their email, and I couldn't even get in or out of the building on my own.

I spent over a month at that place with no laptop, no badge, no access, and management pretty much ignored me. In the end it was a fight over the client wanted to offshore the job, my company wanted that seat, and who knows. The Client started complaining projects were falling behind and deliverables weren't happening and it was like, is this all a joke.

My company supposedly screwed up various projects for them over the years so maybe it was payback. Maybe it was their way of dumping my company by losing an important project. But I never understood it because I was there for 4+ weeks. I could have actually done work. I could have completed everything and then some. I even came up with a upgrade and migration guide on my own because it's something they needed. Why pay somebody billable hours plus travel expenses for like 5 weeks and not even bother to let them do any work. It was just dumb. And the last couple of weeks the FTE or the other consultants from different companies didn't even invite me to meetings anymore. The VP met with the one guy and after that, I never really had anything to do.

That was probably one of the oddest projects I've ever been on because the client essentially refused to let me work because they hated my company so much. They never even cared to know anything about me.

I've been on other projects (independent, small niche firms, or big consulting firms) where the FTE hated contractors. And there were a few cases where FTE were training offshore workers to take their jobs. Except the offshore workers stunk and had to be replaced in a year, but thousands of jobs were lost. Some people came back at a lower pay for other firms, others came back at better pay, and others like me were just working on a project. But I was told "My buddy Chuck used to sit there, he sat there for 20 years" and that's how a lot of the conversations went. I actually got along with most of those people and had a decent time, but there are many FTE who can't stand contractors or consultants.

There was another time some FTE joked in a big meeting about "yeah you're the big time consultant driving a Porsche." I wish i was driving a porsche back then, but far from it. Hell I didn't even own a car at that time.
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Old 06-10-2014, 07:33 AM
 
16,724 posts, read 13,670,338 times
Reputation: 40996
Quote:
Originally Posted by const_iterator View Post
My contract was discontinued, but it still goes until the end of this month and they're trying to get me on another team.
Well, certainly one way to get on another team is by spouting off about your employers. Nice.
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Old 06-10-2014, 10:16 AM
 
8,711 posts, read 8,913,183 times
Reputation: 12186
Quote:
Originally Posted by wideworld View Post
Wow! Now, that is fascinating. Where I work, it's so integrated that I was actually shocked to learn certain people were contractors (and this was months down the line). You're definitely 2nd class on paper, though; zero benefits.

Same here. We emply contractors, but there is no distinction or segregation in the company. You wouldn't even know who a contractor was vs a FTE unless they told you.

Company holiday party or summer BBQ...everyone shows up.

I'm sure on paper, things are different, but around the office, i'd never know
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