Temp employees have rights too, even if the employer doesn’t recognize it.  During the holiday season it is more possible that companies hire temporary workers to handle the increase in staffing requirements, or perhaps to allow permanent employees to take a break during the holiday season.

In many cases, the company doesn’t hire the employee directly, but instead hire through a temporary staffing agency.  In essence, it would appear that the staffing agency is really your boss.

The question often becomes who is liable for improper or unlawful conduct or negligence upon a temporary employee.  In many cases, the temporary staffing company will remove an employee who the company is unhappy with temp employee.  In some cases the temp agency believes that it is the company who fired the employee who is responsible for the temp.

Employers should not and cannot fire a temporary employee assuming that the employee’s staffing agency will deal with the consequences. Often the staffing agency and the client-employer are both named as defendants if the temporary employee decides to sue the company. Co-defendants in this situation who have no written agreement between them may get a little shock when they find out who exactly is liable.

Temporary employees do have rights.  As an example, a temp agency cannot work with a company to hire only white temps.  They just cannot agree to discriminate.  Often, if not always, when a temporary employee sues, the employment agency and the client-employer are both named as defendants..

The EEOC gives specific guidelines regarding temporary employee guidelines.  (EEOC) gives specific guidelines regarding temporary employees:

Staffing firm workers are generally covered under the anti-discrimination statutes. This is because they typically qualify as employees of the staffing firm, the client to whom they are assigned, or both. Thus, staffing firms and the clients to whom they assign workers may not discriminate against the workers on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability.

If you are being discriminated or being sexually harassed,

Speak up!  It’s important to the court that the temporary employee has told others of the discrimination or harassment.

Report the problem to both your temporary agency and the correct management chain at your assignment. They may tell you that because you are not a regular employee, you don’t have access to HR.  Not true.  If your temporary boss is sexually harassing you, then go ahead and report it to HR.  Report it to anyone in the chain of command.  If they don’t do anything, you can always report it to the EEOC.

In the meantime, ask to be reassigned. If you think you are being discriminated against, call us immediately at (786) 454-2411.  For more information about sexual harassment, please click here.

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