A temporary employee is a worker who is hired to perform work-related tasks, but is not necessarily considered an official, full-time member of a company or business. They may be hired to work on a temporary basis, such as only for the day or week, or sometimes for several months. Thus, why it is common for temporary employees to be recruited to do work that is seasonal or involves completing specific projects.
Additionally, temporary employees are often supplied to companies through the use of a “temp agency” (i.e., a temporary employee agency). These agencies have a database of vetted temporary workers they can call to staff the above mentioned work projects.
Lastly, temporary employees may also be called “day laborers” or “contingent workers.” Regardless of their title, they all refer to a non-permanent worker who is usually under a short-term contract and gets paid by the hour.
Do Temporary Employees Have Any Legal Rights?
Much like full-time employees, temporary employees also have certain legal rights. Just because these workers are not regular staff members of a company does not mean that they are not protected by the basic federal provisions that cover labor and employment regulations.
While temporary workers may not be able to claim the employee benefits that regular workers receive, they do have a general right to be free from certain conduct, such as workplace harassment and discrimination.
What are Temporary Employee Discrimination Claims?
Again, similar to full-time employees, temporary employees can also bring an action against their employers for employee discrimination claims.
A temporary employee discrimination claim occurs when an employer discriminates against a temporary worker based on them belonging to a particular protected class, such as those concerning race, age, sex, national origin, religion, pregnancy, or if they have a disability.
Although every state has its own version of anti-discrimination laws, the federal laws generally hold that anti-discrimination laws still apply to workers even when the worker is hired through a temp agency for short-term or seasonal projects.
Who Can be Held Liable for Discrimination Against a Temporary Employee?
Being a temporary worker can sometimes make handling discrimination claims much more difficult than if the worker is a full-time employee. Part of the reason for this is because they are staffed by the temp agency, rather than by the company itself. Thus, the first step is to determine whether it is the temp agency or the actual business hirer who can be held liable for the discriminatory conduct.
In some cases, it will be clear that it is the business hirer who may be held liable for discrimination. This is especially true if there is a past history of discriminatory behavior within the company’s hiring process or if it can be supported by their hiring statistics.
On the other hand, the temp agency may also be held liable if they continue to uphold the discriminatory policies and do not report the business. In these instances, both the business and temporary employment agency can be held responsible for discrimination. Close cases, such as this one, may even require the assistance of a lawyer.
In cases where it is not clear who is responsible for the discrimination, the key factor to look at will be the extent of the hirer’s control over the temporary employee’s work performance. In other words, a temporary employee can become the business’s employee (as opposed to the temp agency) for legal purposes if the business organization is the one that has sufficient control over the worker’s tasks.
Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer for Help with Temporary Employee Discrimination Claims?
Anti-discrimination laws can often be difficult to interpret and will sometimes require the application of both the state and federal guidelines for these types of laws. This can make the process of filing and arguing discrimination claims quite a challenge to complete without the assistance of an attorney.
Therefore, if you have any questions or are involved in a dispute regarding a temporary employee discrimination claim, then you may want to consider contacting a local employment lawyer or discrimination attorney as soon as possible.
An attorney who has experience in employment matters may be able to help you obtain compensation for any losses resulting from the discriminatory conduct. A lawyer can also help you gather documents to support your case and provide representation on your behalf during any necessary court hearings or at settlement meetings.
In some cases, you may even be able to receive other remedies from the court, such as payment for lost wages, overtime pay that you were entitled to, or being reinstated to your prior work position if you were wrongfully terminated as retaliation for reporting a discrimination claim. A lawyer can walk you through the process for requesting these other remedies and can help you argue for why you should receive them as well.