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MS ‘temps’ win court action over stock purchase plan

In light of the new salary structures, something of a pyrrhic victory, mayhap...

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If you think Microsoft is tough with its competitors, you should try being a contract employee working for the company through an agency in the Seattle area. After a long and very bitter fight, the US Court of Appeals yesterday overturned two earlier decisions by the District Court and allowed another 5,000 or so contract employees to participate in the company's stock purchase plan. Previously, only 600 employees were allowed to participate in the plan (which is different from the stock options scheme) and gain the standard 15 percent discount. The contract staff are in reality full-time staff, since many have been so employed for years, and their work is indistinguishable from that of actual employees. Class action suits were filed in 1992 and 1998. Microsoft slightly improved its standard contract in January after being criticised in the District Court by the judge. This is one of those occasions when nobody in Microsoft can be found to offer any comment. ®

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