Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Microsoft Businesses

No RIF'd Employees Need Apply For Microsoft External Staff Jobs For 6 Months 282

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the no-workers-rights-for-you dept.
theodp (442580) writes So, what does Microsoft do for an encore after laying off 18,000 employees with a hilariously bad memo? Issue another bad memo — Changes to Microsoft Network and Building Access for External Staff — "to introduce a new policy [retroactive to July 1] that will better protect our Microsoft IP and confidential information." How so? "The policy change affects [only] US-based external staff (including Agency Temporaries, Vendors and Business Guests)," Microsoft adds, "and limits their access to Microsoft buildings and the Microsoft corporate network to a period of 18 months, with a required six-month break before access may be granted again." Suppose Microsoft feels that's where the NSA went wrong with Edward Snowden? And if any soon-to-be-terminated Microsoft employees hope to latch on to a job with a Microsoft external vendor to keep their income flowing, they best think again. "Any Microsoft employee who separated from Microsoft on or after July 1, 2014," the kick-em-while-they're-down memo explains, "will be required to take a minimum 6-month break from access between the day the employee separates from Microsoft and the date when the former employee may begin an assignment as an External Staff performing services for Microsoft." Likely not just to prevent leaks, but also to prevent any contractors from being reclassified as employees.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

No RIF'd Employees Need Apply For Microsoft External Staff Jobs For 6 Months

Comments Filter:
  • by thaylin (555395) on Monday July 21, 2014 @09:09PM (#47504935)
    This is a repeat of 2k9. They laid us off scheduled the 4th of July, but we were removed from our posts on 4th of May, and our access revoked. And while they hired the same number of people immediately the people who were laid off could not apply for 5 months.
    • ...the people who were laid off could not apply for 5 months.

      Why would you apply to work for the same company that just kicked you to the curb? I'd tell 'em to go to hell.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Because you just got kicked to the curb and now you can't find work elsewhere?

      • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Monday July 21, 2014 @09:55PM (#47505085)

        ...the people who were laid off could not apply for 5 months.

        Why would you apply to work for the same company that just kicked you to the curb? I'd tell 'em to go to hell.

        Never let pride get in the way of sound business sense. If my options were working the grill at Arbies or Microsoft, the next words out of my mouth would be "Yes Mr Balmer, laying off all us slackers really taught us a lesson sir. Would you like me to buff all your golf clubs now?"

        • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @12:46AM (#47505611)

          You'd probably get laid off again for calling Mr Nadella "Ballmer"-- sort of a big screw up when you get the CEO's name wrong.

        • Never let pride get in the way of sound business sense. If my options were working the grill at Arbies or Microsoft, the next words out of my mouth would be "Yes Mr Balmer, laying off all us slackers really taught us a lesson sir. Would you like me to buff all your golf clubs now?"

          Sad advice but still very good advice. The "to hell with them" crowd is likely too young to know that pride gets in the way of providing for your family, and swallowing your pride is vastly easier than being foreclosed on.

  • by msobkow (48369) on Monday July 21, 2014 @09:09PM (#47504939) Homepage Journal

    I was in the same situation once. Laid off by Northern Telecom in the late '80s, I started work as a contractor at their head office three weeks later for double what I'd been paid as an employee. :)

    • by whoever57 (658626)

      I was in the same situation once. Laid off by Northern Telecom in the late '80s, I started work as a contractor at their head office three weeks later for double what I'd been paid as an employee. :)

      I was once part of a site closure, which resulted in some employees (unfortunately, not me) getting both early retirement (pension payments) and re-hired as contractors at significantly higher rates than their salaries had been.

  • Not about leaks (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rich0 (548339) on Monday July 21, 2014 @09:10PM (#47504947) Homepage

    Not sure what blocking re-employment has to do with leaks. If anything driving people to other companies is likely to cause MORE leaks.

    This is almost certainly about eliminating the risk of contingent workforce being classified as employees. My own employer does the same thing, though it does not bar long-term relationships as long as the company doesn't interview individual workers. That is, if we hire Fred to help out with something, then Fred is gone in two years and must take a break. On the other hand, if we hire Acme janitorial to clean our trash and they send over Fred then he can work for years, but we don't get a veto on who they send/etc.

    I have mixed feelings. On one hand it does make things harder on those who end up having to move on. On the other hand, before the policy we used to have a LOT of people who would be dragged along in a contract position with the elusive promise of a hire that would take years to happen. The policy forces managers to act if they don't want to lose somebody.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Contractors and "perma-temps" are causing massive state audits as the state-level employment agencies are trying to prevent businesses from reclassifying their workforce in a way that avoids paying the unemployment insurance tax. My company's policy is to put any temps through a huge number of documentation loopholes proving that they are getting work from multiple clients, preventing them for working for longer than 11 months straight (with a 3 month break), and anyone who leaves is not allowed to consult

      • Re: Not about leaks (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @05:19AM (#47506323)

        The only reason any of this is problem is that we continue to stupidly tie benefits and retirement to employment. Nobody, especially higher ups, wants to have that conversation in this country.

        If being a full time employee simply meant you work more hours than a part time employee and had nothing else associated with it, a good number of people would be better off having two or three part time jobs. Less burn out, more job mobility,and in particular less immediate consequences to getting fired or laid off from a particular job. THAT is the reason big employers are against a national or single payer insurance system and why they demonize the very notion of national retirement benefits even though those things would reduce their costs. They would reduce their power even more, and they just can't have that.

        • Now THAT is interesting. If everyone who works at Airbus gets national health care, Airbus has lower costs vs Boeing. ?

    • Specifically... (Score:5, Informative)

      by tlambert (566799) on Monday July 21, 2014 @10:01PM (#47505117)

      Specifically, states like California are now trying to reclassify temporary employees as permanent in order to collect additional tax revenue. This happened with Apple before, and they also now have a 6 month rule. See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I... [wikipedia.org]

      Microsoft is particularly sensitive to the issue, given that it was a lawsuit against them that triggered the whole idea: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P... [wikipedia.org]

      So this has nothing to do with the laid off employees (unless they are laying off contractors first, which is pretty common, if they can).

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Oh, you mean where companies have been illegally classifying permanent employees as temporary? That bit?

        Sounds like it's time to outlaw rehire time delays like this, since the scumbags found a loophole.

        Or perhaps the solution is to simply outlaw temporary hiring for any company over a certain size, say 200 employees or so.

        • Oh, you mean where companies have been illegally classifying permanent employees as temporary? That bit?

          Sounds like it's time to outlaw rehire time delays like this, since the scumbags found a loophole.

          Or perhaps the solution is to simply outlaw temporary hiring for any company over a certain size, say 200 employees or so.

          How is it a loophole for doing something if it just forbids doing exactly that?

    • Re:Not about leaks (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Charliemopps (1157495) on Monday July 21, 2014 @10:07PM (#47505141)

      It's simple, you hire people to do the jobs that need getting done.

      We, the employees are largely to blame though. I work with a lot of contractors that love their flexibility and how great it is... until the market takes a crap on their heads. Tech workers need to stop pretending like they'll be 18 forever. I know when things get bad you can hide in the basement and play wow until they pick back up, but really? Wouldn't it be better to just work a normal job and not have to screw around like that?

    • Re:Not about leaks (Score:4, Interesting)

      by gl4ss (559668) on Monday July 21, 2014 @11:19PM (#47505369) Homepage Journal

      the way nokia handled plenty of contracting was that they were used just so that they didn't need to give them nokia perks when put off from the project(laying off).

      I should know. When applying for a job(got tipped off to "call this guy" who told me to contact another guy) I went straight to interview with the company contracting on behalf of the company I would be "working" for(2 layers deep subcontracting from day 0 of that gig, makes no real sense except from the eventual layoffing perks viewpoint - and for screwing over the unions since both the layer 1 subcon company and nokia were doing some layoffs). every day while there we walked roughly 100 meters to daily meeting at the very nearby Nokia offices - and Nokia people greenlighted me to work on the project, the "interview" was a joke because it was with two guys who would not be making the decision, and Nokia was used for getting the local equivalent of secret service background check done(which really just is a check for criminal record but they make it sound fancier). so why didn't Nokia hire me directly, they knew I was on the job market, they knew I was uncontracted at that point in time? well, for easier layoffs and so that some good buddy guys could get to shave my pay on two layers.

      oh and the whole Nokia crap from ms was solely and only to keep windows phone alive! that was their ONLY interest in the company and in insertion of Elop. and now they're killing the nokia X to keep windows phone alive(selling at all) since customers are liking nokia X more, as if people were choosing nokia x because it's nokia and would go for windows phone in the same 80 bucks category.

      if you don't know what Nokia X is, it's a 80 bucks dualcore android phone available in asia, africa etc markets.

      and the now laid off people in Finland in practice can go work whoever the fuck they want after they get laid off, prob is maybe 10% of them actually have usable skills and mindset... but their ex-nokia bosses aren't going to care for shit who they go work for and what "secrets" they take with them(there's no secrets to take with them so..).

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        "so why didn't Nokia hire me directly, they knew I was on the job market, they knew I was uncontracted at that point in time? well, for easier layoffs and so that some good buddy guys could get to shave my pay on two layers."

        You are wrong here. Nokia uses temp workers because the low level managers can't get permissions to hire staff, but have a different budget for buying work from other companies. They are basically playing around the company bureucracy. It's not uncommon. It happens in other big companie

    • by Pvt_Waldo (459439)

      Exactly. HP does this with contractors (2 years work, 100 days you can't work).

  • Intel does this. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I am a contractor (green badge) at Intel, and I have to abide by the same policy. 18 months on, six months off. It's no big deal.

    In fact, I kind of like it. I know when my "use by" date is, and I can't negotiate it, so I don't get too comfortable. Not that I don't like working at Intel, I do, but I try never to get too comfortable as a contractor.

  • It's akin to someone's 80 year old, 400 lb grandmother barricading herself in her house with a shotgun to prevent 20-something horny frat boys from taking advantage of her body.

  • by rossdee (243626) on Monday July 21, 2014 @09:20PM (#47504983)

    And wondered was M$ chipping their employees now

    • Welcome to the TRULY disposable workforce. Do your 18 months then they Fargo your ass.

  • by Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) on Monday July 21, 2014 @09:22PM (#47504993)

    For those needing another reason not to purchase Microsoft products...they just fired 18,000 people but are lobbying the government for an ever increasing number of wage slaves from India and other countries. They can hire these poor saps at lower salaries, bully them into working long hours for no additional pay (it's that bad 'ol offshore middleman that's blamed for the sweatshop hours) while backhanding profits to cronies in these offshore companies. Meanwhile, they whine that they can't find any qualified local staff. Actually, they just can't find local staff willing to work for third world salaries while living with first world expenses and taxes. Just say no.

    • by Moskit (32486)

      Capitalism at work. As simple as that :-/

  • Stephen Elop... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gwstuff (2067112) on Monday July 21, 2014 @09:35PM (#47505019)

    ...seems to be a great reason not to work for MS. He and Microsoft took one of the finest companies in the world, turned it inside out, and devoured it like a panic-stricken predator conscious that the end of the path it was on was in sight. Unfortunately for Microsoft, the acquisition of Nokia only bought time. When you rip open the goose that lays the golden eggs, it stops working.

    • Soooo... by the end of next decade they are building a Linux distro.

      The trick is that it will only run a version of Microsoft Office and almost nothing else. it will have a packing system that reboots the machine every 15 minutes, and have it's very own version of gcc that has tons of undocumented function calls.

    • by cbhacking (979169)

      Nokia was struggling quite badly before Elop. I'm not dismissing your claim that Microsoft devoured it, or that Elop was a major part of that, but if you take off your rose-tinted glasses of Nokia past (which was excellent, undeniably) and look at the Nokia of just a few years ago, that company was in major trouble.

      Now, they *could* have made a run at being the next Samsung, and gone with Android. Or they *could* have put real resources into Maemo/Meego/whatever-they-were-calling-it-then, brought out a real

  • External staff is an umbrella term for individuals performing services for Microsoft on a non-permanent basis. Examples include consultants, temporary contract workers, vendor workers, freelancers, independent professionals and contractors, staff augmentation, and business guests.

    Nothing in that language excludes cafeteria workers, janitors, HVAC repairmen, etc. Does MS really mean to restrict blue-collar workers to 18-month stints too? Their employers won’t necessarily have another gig available for

    • The only irreplaceable people have "president" or "vice-president" in their title.

    • by grahamwest (30174)

      They cover that in the full memo:

      Q: Why do some supplier employees not take breaks when others do?

      A: There are some business functions and processes that have been fully outsourced (Outsourcing), such as cafeteria services, landscaping and call centers. These Outsourcing engagements are limited, require a certain set of criteria be met and must go through a rigorous approval process.

  • by theodp (442580) on Monday July 21, 2014 @10:06PM (#47505137)

    Hey, looks like Donald Sterling's getting a $2 billion dollar Microsoft "severance" package [slashdot.org]. From TMZ [tmz.com]: "Ballmer went to Sterling's Beverly Hills estate Monday at 3 PM, along with Shelly Sterling's lawyer, Pierce O'Donnell ... who brokered the $2 billion deal."

  • I think Microsoft is setting up a situation that the courts will find repugnant. Restraining future employment seems to be at play here.
  • An unregulated business practice designed to funnel jobs and monies overseas? Say it ain't so, George, say it ain't so!
  • As a former paid Microsoft shill (okay, contractor on like four different projects), I would wholeheartedly welcome this if I ever went back. Which I won't, but still.

    One year was too little time. It takes months to ramp up; now you get a lot more productive time.

    And 90 days of downtime between jobs was awkward--it's hard to set up a 3 month contract that fit perfectly in those dates. Realistically, you'd find another 6-month job in the meantime, and not go back to Microsoft until well after the mandator

  • I mean, if they were laid off, then that tends to mean that they *can't* be hired back on... at least not immediately. My understanding is that "laid off" means that the person is being let go because there isn't enough work to justify paying them, so how could they even *think* of hiring back anyone?
    • I mean, if they were laid off, then that tends to mean that they *can't* be hired back on... at least not immediately. My understanding is that "laid off" means that the person is being let go because there isn't enough work to justify paying them, so how could they even *think* of hiring back anyone?

      Of course a company can hire back fired employees. It could be seen as an admission that the firing shouldn't have happened and was wrong, but there is nothing wrong with the hiring. Especially since it would at least partially fix the wrong that happened with the firing.

      • by mark-t (151149)
        But the terminology that they used was not "fired", it was "laid off". There is a difference.
  • from Canada? Are they all evil?

  • by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @02:32AM (#47505891) Homepage

    No RIF'd Employees Need Apply For Microsoft External Staff Jobs For 6 Months

    Maybe it's common parlance down your way, but what does RIF mean? Recently Inconveniently Fired? Real Imitation Fur? Raw Industrial Faeces?

  • I took 'voluntary' separation from IBM, and part of the conditions for leaving with a lump sum was that I can never work for IBM either directly or via an agency or contract anywhere in the world ever again.

    There's always a risk that IBM would take over all of the major employers and I would have been right royally fucked, but then what are the real chances of that ever happening?
  • by louic (1841824)
    If I got a memo like that I would have stopped reading it after the first two paragraphs, if not after the first one. I have better things to do!
  • This has only to do with labor laws and how contractors can be reclassified as regular employees under certain circumstances. For example, an employee cannot "quit" and then come back right away as a contractor to make more money. The IRS does not like this, because most of the time it is done by employees with extraordinarily long commutes or other ways to take huge deductions from their gross.

    It also prevents companies firing employees only to hire them back as contractors to avoid paying benefits and FIC

    • by PPH (736903)

      I suppose this would depend on who made the decision to depart. If the employer lets an employee go only to rehire them back as a contractor, then I can understand. But this doesn't need to be communicated to employees through memos. HR can enforce employment/contracting legal and tax issues on their own.

      On the other hand, if the departure is initiated by the employee, its quite possible that this employee might be valued but not willing to return under standard employment terms. If Mircosoft wants them, t

  • When they close the door, they close it hard.
  • The move dooms Microsoft to irrelevance by preventing it from using the talent necessary to fix Windows' problems. BUT - without Microsoft to absorb the accusations of "monopoly" by economic know-nothings (at any given time in any market, there is always a largest player. This does not make that player a monopolist), it will now be Apple's turn in the barrel.

  • by chuckugly (2030942) on Tuesday July 22, 2014 @12:27PM (#47509013)
    I read that RFID'd, and then I spent about 60 seconds wondering what those guys I Redmond had been up to. Then I calmed down and reread it.
  • ... "No RFID'd employees..." ? I wondered "Who's getting themselves microchipped, and why does Microsoft not like that?"

Lo! Men have become the tool of their tools. -- Henry David Thoreau

Working...