Re: Liability insurance in TechComm?

Subject: Re: Liability insurance in TechComm?
From: "Katherine Enos (Macrosearch Inc)" <a-kateno -at- MICROSOFT -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 11:32:17 -0800

Thanks for the great information on the liability issue. I'm hoping to hear
even more about whether people are being asked to carry it and how they are
responding to and hopefully discouraging such requests.

Andrew said some good things, but there was an inaccuracy. I contract at
Microsoft. There continue to be vendors here -- people with their own
companies and companies in which they are the sole employee. Not all groups
at Microsoft are willing to work out individual contracts with vendors and
many do prefer to go through contracting agencies for their contract
workers, but there continue to be vending opportunities for people who have
their own business license and can show themselves to have had other clients
in the past. This isn't too high of a bar to pass. The big question is
whether the group you're working with is willing to do the paperwork; that
question often rests on how desirable your skills are. The other big
question is how savy you are about the high-tech field and your own
opportunities -- many less experiences contractors do not know that vending
might be an option.

If you'd like more information about the Microsoft vendor lawsuit, and on
other litigation affecting all contract workers, visit the Web site of the
Washington Alliance of Technology Workers at A key
issue at stake in some of these vendor lawsuits is the question of when is a
worker a de facto employee, an employee under common law. If you'll read the
information on the WashTech Web site you'll find out about some large
companies that are working to abolish the common law employee test.
Abolishing this test will mean that there would be nothing to stop companies
from getting rid of increasing numbers of employees to save on benefits and
instead drawing upon a contract/temporary agency labor pool to get the job
done indefinitely. Things like this will affect all of the high-tech
workforce in the end. While I enjoy working contract, I know that many
others want to be employees.

I would imagine that it's the litigious nature of American society in
general that is responsible for any increasing trend to force the
contracting company to shoulder the liability. And it also fits in well with
trends such as downsizing and using contract labor in terms of being
another method to lower overhead and cut potential costs.


Andrew said:
Now, some big companies (like Microsoft) will NOT work with
independents because of the risks. They will only work with
established contracting corporations. <opinion> This is a direct
result of the greedy, undeserving former-contractors suing Microsoft
and Intel for benefits. Those people have now made it impossible for
independents to work with larger companies. </opinion>

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