The New York Times published an article recently that provides further insight into the divide between full-time Google employees and temporary workers, who now outnumber their full-time counterparts.
In an article titled “Google’s Shadow Work Force: Temps Who Outnumber Full-Time Employees,” the New York Times provides a look into the life of one of Google’s temporary workers, which now outnumber full-time employees at the firm. The New York Times article focuses on one temporary employee, Mindy Cruz, who claims that she was fired from her position at the firm after rejecting the advances of a Google manager.
The New York Times writes:
Ms. Cruz became one of Google’s many temps and contractors — a shadow work force that now outnumbers the company’s full-time employees. But she never made the jump to full time. She was swiftly fired after a Google manager, whom she said had harassed her for months, told the temp agency that had hired her that he wanted her gone.
High-tech companies have long promoted the idea that they are egalitarian, idyllic workplaces. And Google, perhaps more than any other, has represented that image, with a reputation for enviable salaries and benefits and lavish perks.
But the company’s increasing reliance on temps and contractors has some Google employees wondering if management is undermining its carefully crafted culture. As of March, Google worked with roughly 121,000 temps and contractors around the world, compared with 102,000 full-time employees, according to an internal document obtained by The New York Times.
Although temp workers regularly work alongside full-time Google employees, the temps make less money, have different benefit plans, and receive no paid vacation time from the multi-billion dollar tech firm. When Google employees organized a mass walkout last year to protest the company’s handling of sexual harassment complaints, one demand made was for better treatment of temp workers.
When Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive, did not respond to those demands, a group of anonymous contractors sent an open letter demanding equal pay and better opportunities for advancement. In April, hundreds of Google employees signed another letter protesting the dismissal of about 80 percent of a 43-person team of contingent workers working on the company’s artificial intelligence assistant.
In response, Google said it was changing a number of its policies to improve conditions for its temps and contractors.
The Times further explained the case of Mindy Cruz, a temp employee at Google who worked as a recruiter. Based on her performance, Cruz expected to be promoted to full-time status within a year, but things began to change when her boss began to make advances towards her.
“I had heard that a lot of times when you say something to your recruiting agency, they just take you out of the situation and put you somewhere else,” Ms. Cruz said. “And I didn’t want my job to go away.”
She said she had considered reporting a claim when she suspected her manager was looking for a way to fire her. But she was fired in February before she had a chance. Her account was detailed in legal documents seen by The Times. Ms. Cruz’s sister, Kristi Beck, said her sister had told her about the harassment while it had been going on.
Cruz filed a complaint with Google and later agreed to a settlement in mediation following months of proceedings. But she’s still upset about one element of the agreement, she is no longer allowed to work for Google. “It feels so unfair,” she said. “They took away this very big opportunity.”
Read the full report in the New York Times here.