"Well, if you were an employee, I would be in a position to demand that you stay here and do your work, no matter what your personal plans were after work."
I did contract work for something like ten years. In that time, the biggest thing that I learned was that "company loyalty" is a complete illusion: you work for the company and they pay you, it is a mutually beneficient relationship. When it ceases to be mutual, it's time to leave.
If I'm an employee, and you have a need for me to finish something by a particular time, I have no problem if you ask me to stay and work on something. If you treat me with respect and I enjoy what I'm doing, chances are very good that I will stay and do what you ask.
But demand? Oh, hell no.
I'm pretty lucky in that my workplace is very proactive in respect and communication. Sure there are snafus just like anyplace, but really it's a good environment. After my time in the Gulag, it saved me from abandoning engineering entirely. And when I hear of things like this, I remember the abusive environment that was in place in the Gulag, and my sphincter puckers just a little. And I hear stories like these from time to time from different folks where some companies treat their employees as if they own them, that the company must come first and all of that
So I'm wondering from you all out there, does the company that you work for demand your loyalty, or do they cultivate it?