As summer approaches, many employers bring on temporary workers to assist with seasonal business needs. Such workers can offer a number of benefits, such as increased efficiency and flexibility, including through saved money on recruiting, training and payroll. However, to the unsuspecting employer, the perceived benefits may be far outweighed by the costs of damages, fines and penalties associated with improperly using or classifying such workers. The key question in bringing on temporary workers is whether such workers are, in effect, “employees,” triggering their rights and the employers’ respective obligations under various applicable laws.
A temporary worker may be deemed to be an “employee” of both the employer and/or a temporary staffing agency if certain factors demonstrate that a “joint employer relationship” exists between the two. Where such a relationship is found to exist, the employer and the staffing agency can be held jointly liable for each other’s workplace-law violations.