You hear a lot of liberal rhetoric from some of the top brass at Google, including open-borders ideology, and then you read stories like this one from Reuters:
Google was sued this week by a worker who claimed the company did not pay overtime, improperly classified him as an independent contractor then terminated him after he asked for more hours to be covered under his contract.
The case, filed in a New York federal court on Wednesday, seeks to proceed as a collective action on behalf of other Google Inc workers.
[…] In the latest case against Google, plaintiff Jacob McPherson said he began work in 2013 at $35 per hour as a “site merchandiser for magazines” in the Google Play unit. He was classified as a freelancer and paid through an outside agency, the lawsuit said, although he worked in Google’s New York offices.
McPherson was limited to billing 30 hours a week but worked more than that. Google declined to pay him for those extra hours, nor for any overtime over 40 hours a week. Google eventually terminated his contract after he asked for more hours to be covered in the contract, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit alleges claims including violation of federal labor standards and damages.
Reuters goes on to observe that this sort of thing is happening at other companies too, including Federal Express and, somewhat debatably, the Uber ride-sharing service. (In the latter instance, a logical case for treating the employees as independent contractors could be made, and the practice is universal, not the sort of exploitation McPherson is suing Google for,)
Without making any presumptions about the outcome of this case, I think it can be seen as part of the general, and unhealthy, tendency to move away from the traditional model of employment and career-building, towards new arrangements designed to evade the enormous mandatory costs imposed on full-time labor, of which ObamaCare is just the most recent and high-profile example. This case is eye-catching because the accusations run so strongly counter to the image Google presents of itself, and because it involves well-compensated work in the technology sector… but plenty of lower-end businesses are looking for ways to break up the over-regulated traditional employment model, too. And while I’m generally in favor of people reaching whatever contractual agreement they find mutually satisfactory to buy and sell labor, it’s unquestionably a bad sign to see careers fading from the American Dream, to be replaced by mere jobs.
Now, what happens if we drop another four or five million low-skilled workers into this employment environment with a big amnesty deal?