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Temp Worker Blow for MS

Supreme Court Turns Down Appeal

By Richard Carelli

The Associated Press

W A S H I N G T O N, Jan. 10 [2000]— The Supreme Court today refused, for the second time in two years, to free Microsoft from possibly having to pay thousands of former temporary employees who were not allowed to join the company’s lucrative stock-purchase program.

The justices, without comment, let stand a federal appeals court ruling that, according to Microsoft’s unsuccessful appeal, “has far-reaching implications for the field of employment law.”

Eight people who once worked for the Redmond, Wash., computer software company sued in 1992, saying they and thousands more “permatemps” illegally had been shut out of an employee stock purchase plan that allows employees to buy Microsoft stock at a discount.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals twice has ruled, most recently last May, that the temporary employees wrongly had been treated as “independent contractors” or employees of employment agencies.

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