Temporary Employee Discrimination Claims

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 What Is a Temporary Employee?

A temporary employee is someone who is hired to perform work-related tasks but is not considered a permanent, full-time member of a company or business. They may be hired for a limited period, such as a day, a week, or several months, and are often sought out for seasonal work or specific projects.

In many cases, temporary employees are recruited through a “temp agency” or a temporary employment agency. These agencies have a pool of pre-screened temporary workers who can be called upon to staff short-term projects.

Sometimes referred to as “day laborers” or “contingent workers,” temporary employees are typically paid by the hour and work under a short-term contract.

Do Temporary Employees Have Any Legal Rights?

Temporary employees are entitled to legal rights that are similar to those of full-time employees. Even though they are not considered regular company staff members, they are still protected by basic federal provisions that cover labor and employment regulations.

Although temporary workers may not be eligible for the same employee benefits as regular workers, they still have the right to a safe and harassment-free workplace. This includes protection against discrimination based on factors such as race, gender, age, and disability.

Temporary employees have the right to fair pay, overtime pay, and breaks as mandated by state and federal laws. They also have the right to join a union and participate in protected labor activities without fear of retaliation.

What Are Temporary Employee Discrimination Claims?

Temporary employees, like full-time employees, have the right to file a discrimination claim against their employer if they experience discrimination in the workplace.

Discrimination against temporary employees can occur when an employer treats them differently based on their protected class status, including race, age, gender, national origin, religion, pregnancy, or disability.

Temporary employees hired through a temp agency for short-term or seasonal projects are still protected by federal anti-discrimination laws. Employers cannot discriminate against temporary employees based on their race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information.

Employers also cannot retaliate against temporary employees for complaining about discrimination, participating in an investigation of discrimination, or filing a discrimination charge. If an employer retaliates against a temporary employee, they may be liable for damages.

The federal anti-discrimination laws apply to all aspects of the employment relationship, including hiring, firing, pay, promotions, training, and other terms and conditions of employment. Temporary employees must be treated fairly and equitably, just like regular employees.

Each state has its own anti-discrimination laws that supplement the federal laws, providing additional protections for temporary employees. These state laws expand on the protected classes beyond what is included in federal law, and they may also impose additional obligations on employers to prevent discrimination against temporary employees.

For example, some states require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to temporary employees with disabilities, such as modified work schedules or accessible workspaces. In addition, some states have specific regulations governing the use of temporary employees, such as requiring employers to provide written notice to temporary employees of their rights and responsibilities under state law.

The state may also require employers to maintain records regarding the use of temporary employees, such as the length of their assignments and their pay rates.

What is the EEOC?

Temporary employees who experience discrimination in the workplace have the right to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or their state’s equivalent agency. They may also have the option to pursue legal action against their employer to seek compensation for damages caused by the discrimination.

The EEOC is a federal agency responsible for enforcing anti-discrimination laws in the workplace. Temporary employees who believe they have been discriminated against can file a complaint with the EEOC within 180 days of the discriminatory act. The EEOC will then investigate the complaint and determine whether there is sufficient evidence of discrimination to warrant legal action.

If the EEOC finds sufficient evidence of discrimination, it may file a lawsuit on behalf of the temporary employee. The EEOC would represent the employee’s interests in court and seek remedies for the discriminatory conduct.

If the EEOC decides to pursue a lawsuit, it will typically begin by attempting to settle the matter through negotiations with the employer. If those efforts fail, the EEOC may proceed with litigation.

In a lawsuit, the EEOC would seek remedies for the temporary employee, such as back pay, front pay, compensatory damages, and punitive damages. Back pay refers to lost wages that the employee would have earned if they had not been subjected to discrimination. Front pay refers to the amount of money the employee would have earned if the employer still employed them. Compensatory damages are intended to compensate the employee for emotional distress and other non-economic harms caused by the discrimination. Punitive damages are intended to punish the employer for its unlawful conduct and deter similar conduct in the future.

If the EEOC is successful in its lawsuit, the temporary employee may receive a monetary award to compensate them for the harm they have suffered. The employer may also be required to take corrective action, such as implementing anti-discrimination training or changing its policies and procedures to prevent future discrimination.

An experienced attorney who handles employment law cases can help you understand their legal options and develop a strategy for pursuing your claims.

Who Can Be Held Liable for Discrimination Against a Temporary Employee?

The first step in pursuing a discrimination claim is to determine whether the temp agency or the actual business hirer can be held liable for the discriminatory conduct.

In some cases, it may be clear that the business hirer is responsible for discrimination, for example, if the business has a history of discriminatory behavior in their hiring process or if there are statistical indications of discrimination in their hiring practices.

Even if the business hirer did not intend to discriminate against temporary workers, they could still be held responsible for discriminatory conduct if their actions have a discriminatory impact. Discrimination does not require intentional discrimination but can result from practices or policies that have a discriminatory effect.

In some cases, the temp agency may also be held liable for discrimination against temporary workers if they are aware of and continue to support discriminatory policies or fail to report discriminatory behavior by the business hirer.

For example, if a temp agency knows that a business hirer has engaged in discriminatory conduct against temporary workers but continues to send workers to that business, the temp agency may be held responsible for their involvement in the discrimination.

Temp agencies are also responsible for investigating and responding to any reports of discrimination made by temporary workers. Suppose a temp agency fails to take appropriate action to address discrimination or fails to report discriminatory behavior to the appropriate authorities. In that case, they may also be held liable for their role in the discrimination.

In such cases, both the business hirer and the temp agency can be held responsible for the discrimination. If the situation needs to be clarified, consult a lawyer for assistance.

When determining liability for discrimination against temporary workers, a key factor is the extent of the business hirer’s control over the temporary employee’s work performance.

In general, the more control the business hirer exercises over the worker’s tasks, the more likely the temporary employee will be legally considered an employee of the business hirer rather than the temp agency.

Determining the employer-employee relationship is important because it can affect who is responsible for discriminatory conduct. If the business hirer is deemed to be the employer, they will be responsible for complying with employment laws and can be held liable for discrimination against temporary workers.

Factors that are considered in determining the employer-employee relationship include the following:

  • The degree of control over the worker’s tasks;
  • The length of the worker’s employment;
  • The method of payment;
  • The provision of benefits; and
  • The level of skill required for the job.

If the business hirer exercises significant control over the temporary worker’s tasks, such as directing the worker’s schedule, setting the worker’s pay rate, and providing training or instruction, the worker may be considered an employee of the business hirer. In this case, the business hirer would be responsible for ensuring compliance with employment laws and addressing any discrimination claims against the temporary worker.

On the other hand, if the temp agency exercises more control over the worker’s tasks, such as setting the worker’s schedule, providing training, and determining the worker’s pay rate, the worker may be considered an employee of the temp agency. In this case, the temp agency would be responsible for ensuring compliance with employment laws and addressing any discrimination claims against the temporary worker.

Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer for Help With Temporary Employee Discrimination Claims?

If you have any questions or are involved in a dispute regarding a temporary employee discrimination claim, contact a local discrimination attorney as soon as possible.

An attorney can assist you in gathering documents and evidence to support your case and represent you during any court hearings or settlement meetings. They can also help you pursue compensation for any losses resulting from the discriminatory conduct, such as payment for lost wages or reinstatement to your prior work position if you were wrongfully terminated as retaliation for reporting a discrimination claim.

Other remedies may also be available in your case, such as back pay or overtime pay that you were entitled to but did not receive. A lawyer can help you pursue these remedies by advocating on your behalf in court.

You can work towards a fair and just resolution to your case by seeking legal assistance through LegalMatch. Click to find an employment lawyer for your case today.


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