In my workforce solutions role, I read a lot of contracts. I’m not an attorney, and I don’t play one on TV, but I find many staffing contracts to be quite interesting (read strange, laughable, curious, creative, out of touch with reality, etc.). After all of these years, I have compiled a list of some my “favorite things” –  dastardly dangers that troll below the surface of the grotesque amount of words.

Maybe you’ll enjoy my interpretation of some of these gems. If not verbatim, all of these are real…and you know it’s true.

Prepare to die.

Indemnification – SUPPLIER agrees to indemnify, defend and hold harmless the CLIENT, and anyone they know, have known or could ever possibly know, from any losses or damages inflicted by anything in the entire universe for all eternity. Paraphrase:  No matter what happens, it is always the fault of the SUPPLIER, and they must pay for it, including the ambulance chasing TV lawyer they prefer. For example, CLIENT supervisor sexual harassment of SUPPLIER workers is the fault and legal responsibility of the SUPPLIER.

Termination – CLIENT has the right to terminate the agreement at any time for any reason, including but not limited to personal preferences, pet peeves or lack of golf outings. Otherwise, the agreement is in effect in perpetuity. SUPPLIER has no right to terminate the contract and is not allowed to discontinue the relationship by ceasing to fill any and all job orders.

Safety – SUPPLIER agrees that all safety, including equipment, facilities, work environment and OSHA log maintenance for the site, is their responsibility. SUPPLIER acknowledges that OSHA policies or rules do not pertain to the CLIENT. If OSHA indeed exists, it bears liability for any and all workplace safety issues and injuries.

Payment – Although SUPPLIER has no way to know if and when MSP receives remittance, SUPPLIER will receive payment for services from MSP only if and when MSP receives payment from CLIENT…or not. Numerous unrealistic deadlines exist for submission of hours worked (with perfect accuracy); otherwise, CLIENT is not responsible for payment of any amount or portion of the invoice.

Payment Terms – All considerations that SUPPLIER cannot “float” money and must pay, by contract, their associates on a weekly basis is completely disregarded. The net 150+10 is actually closer to 6 months due to a monthly billing cycle. If SUPPLIER would like shorter payment terms (i.e., 60+10), they can choose a reduced markup that is the equivalent of “cash advance” or loan shark interest rates. Watch your kneecaps, friends.

Co-employment – SUPPLIER acknowledges that this concept doesn’t actually exist and CLIENT has no involvement nor bears any responsibility in the directing, managing, training or supervising of SUPPLIER workers on assignment. Any appearance of CLIENT engagement with temporary workers in their day-to-day functions and performance is merely coincidental. To protect CLIENT, SUPPLIER must have workers sign an affidavit that they are unaware of the company name and location where assigned as well as the names and titles of any CLIENT managers/executives.

Guarantee – SUPPLIER warrantees all assigned workers indefinitely. With notification within six months of the assignment, and for any reason, CLIENT can request a full refund of billings for specified worker(s). SUPPLIER has 37.23 minutes to produce the refund by ACH or enter a credit memo. Sidebar: I recently reviewed a contract that had a 72 (not a typo) hour guarantee for light industrial workers, some of which worked assignments much shorter than 72 (not a typo) hours. When questioned, CLIENT responded with, “That’s the minimum. You can make the warrantee time longer if you wish.”

Service Level Agreements – Anything less than 100% fill rates, 0% turnover and 124% on-time fills will result in SUPPLIER dismemberment (imagine the scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail: “You lopped my arm off!”), or, SUPPLIER can be removed from the program, which it didn’t want to be a part of to begin with. Scorecards are not graded on a curve and are subject to the scrutiny of MIT mathematicians and IRS agents.

Most Favored Client Status – SUPPLIER agrees that it will match or beat CLIENT pricing if they are providing a similar service to another customer. This includes any account whether or not it has grossly higher volume, less on-boarding costs, significantly higher wages, better payment terms, etc. It also includes any at-cost discounts offered in unique circumstances or the deal you gave to your ex-mother-in-law to move to Bangladesh with a one-way ticket.

Mediation – Fairness forbids that CLIENT ever has to face a real judge or jury and explain why they consider this contract even-handed and enforceable.

Dead yet? I guess I’m not either since I’m still typing…and reviewing more lovely “sign as-is” contracts.

Here’s to true partnership! Cheers!