Exploring Civil Case Proceedings

Exploring Civil Case Proceedings

Can A Company Be Held Responsible For The Actions Of A Staffing Agency?

by Becky Freeman

Approximately 11 million people work in temporary and contract positions. These jobs are often obtained through staffing agencies that supply workers to other companies on an as needed basis. On the surface, it would appear these temporary employees are the sole concern of the staffing agencies that hire them. In some cases, though, liability for things that happen to temporary workers also extends to the companies that hire them from the agencies. Here's more information about this issue.

Joint Employers

Joint employment, also called co-employment, is a situation where employees are under the control and supervision of two or more employers. For instance, company A loans an employee to company B to help during a busy period. Both company A and company B would be responsible to and for the employee during the duration of his or her time at company B, even though company A actually hired the individual.

There is nothing illegal about one employee working for two companies or one company loaning its employees to another business. Depending on the relationship between the two companies, however, joint employment could cause one business to be held liable for the bad actions of the second company towards shared employees.

For instance, a well-known satellite provider was ordered to pay $395,000 in overtime and back wages to employees who had ostensibly been hired by a subcontractor that failed to ensure the employees were paid properly. Although the satellite provider tried to absolve itself of liability by stating the workers were the sole employees of the subcontractor, the Labor Department successfully argued the satellite provider was a joint employer because the employees had to wear a branded uniform, only installed the company's equipment, and had to adhere to the company's rules.

Proving Joint Employer Status

Although a person may have been hired by a staffing agency, the worker may be able to hold the company they were assigned to liable for bad behavior on agency's part and vice versa. To do this, however, the employee must prove the companies are joint employers by showing two things are true:

  • Two separate businesses hired and has control over the same employee
  • Each business has a relationship with each other

Both of these can be challenging to show in different ways. For instance, many companies have subdivisions and multiple brands. At first glance it may appear the two businesses are separate, but an investigation may uncover the two businesses are owned by the same parent company or the staffing agency is simply a different department of the other. In this situation, you could only go after the primary company responsible for all the subdivision/brands.

At the same time, you have to show that the companies have some type of relationship to each other, even though they may be separate. Many people work two jobs and are technically under the control of two separate companies. However, their employers may not have anything to do with each other. For example, a person works at a fast food restaurant and a clothing store. The employee could only sue both companies using the joint employer argument if he or she can prove there was some type of agreement between the businesses to share employees.

On the other hand, companies that hire temporary workers usually have contractual relationships with the staffing agencies that supply the employees. So an employee could prove he or she was jointly employed by both companies based on that information.

Another challenge that may come up is showing both companies have some measure of control over the employee. Companies subcontract work out to other businesses all the time, but they don't always have control over the employees that do it. For example, a tech company may hire a cleaning company to tidy the offices after hours. However, the cleaning company is the one that furnishes the employees with uniforms, tells them when to work, and what cleaning products to use. In this scenario, the tech company could not be held liable for problems since it has no control over the employees' actions.

Joint employer lawsuits can be challenging to litigate but can provide injured employees a greater chance of collecting compensation for damages. Contact a personal injury lawyer like Dunnigan & Messier P.C. for assistance with building a viable case.


About Me

Exploring Civil Case Proceedings

Hello and welcome, I'm Winfred Paulo. I have a passion for civil court cases of all kinds. Some time back, I ended up in the thick of a civil case after a lengthy dispute with my neighbor. The dispute went on for years and ended badly with an incident that landed us both in court. We had to prove our side of the case in an effort to obtain a positive outcome and recoup our losses. Unfortunately, I lost the case due to a lack of evidence. Since then, I've maintain a strong interest in civil cases and their proceedings. I will share information about civil cases on this site to help others understand these proceedings better. I may talk about legal terms, and expected outcomes for each case type. I hope you visit often to learn more. Thanks for stopping by my website.