When the policies pertaining to handling of sexual harassment cases at Google were revised and updated recently, the Company did not factor in its temporary, contract and vendor staff. Following this, some employees wrote to Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google to ensure improved working conditions for the thousands of employees that work for the Company on contract.
In their letter, the contract employees also demanded access to companywide e-mails and town hall staff meetings, in addition to improved health care and related benefits, and transparency in the application process for full-time positions. Most employees feel that Google is making enough profits to be able to treat all its employees, including the temporary and contract staff, equally.
More than half of Google’s staff is said to comprise temporary, vendor and contract workers, who handle all sorts of responsibilities from serving food, controlling self-driving cars to managing teams and even writing codes. However, this lot of workers —often recruited by external agencies, such as Randstad NV, Adecca Group and Cognizant— is deprived of adequate health care benefits, has no access to certain areas or buildings, is often not included in corporate meetings, receives no regular updates, and is not given stock options either. Many such workers have reportedly shared that they are made to feel less important than the full-time staff and treated unfairly, like second-class citizens. Some of them put in as many as 60 hours a week and work alongside the full-time staff on important projects, with equal responsibilities. Yet, they remain deprived of all the benefits of the full-time staff, and are at the risk of being fired at short notice.
The image of the Company is definitely taking a beating with this letter making news at a time when Google is already being widely criticised for the way it handles internal cases of sexual misconduct, and for its controversial contracts with the US military, and also for its intention to create a censored search engine in China.