Temporary employer

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Updated: 4/13/2007 3:36 pm
Hiring temporary workers has become a useful and low-cost way for many companies to fill staff shortages. One of the benefits of using temporary workers is that companies don't have to bear the costs or the responsibilities of providing and coordinating the benefits programs for them. Generally, a company only has to pay a temporary employment agency for its services. The temporary agencies, in turn, are responsible for paying both temporary workers' wages and benefits. Companies, however, sometimes wrongly assume that hiring temporary workers gets them out of having to comply with employment laws. This is not always the case. Even if a company isn't a worker's employer, federal ant-discrimination laws can still hold a company liable for discriminating against a temporary employee. Many companies fail to realize that the anti-discrimination statutes not only prohibit an employer from discriminating against its own employees, but also prohibit it from discriminatorily interfering with an individual's employment opportunity with another employer. Employers may also be subject to other federal labor laws if they treat temporary workers in essentially the same manner as permanent employees. For instance, many businesses use temporary employees just as they would permanent employees, except that the temps don't receive the normal fringe benefits that permanent employees receive. Whether a company can be held liable for not providing the same benefits to temporary workers depends largely on the company's employment contract with the employment agency. Generally, whenever an employer enters into a contract with an employment agency, it must specify who has control over which aspects of the work that needs to be done. The more control that a company has over a temporary worker and the more aspects of the employment relationship the company takes responsibility for, the more likely a court will consider the company the employer of the temporary employee, instead of the employment agency. If the case is so, the company will be and is subject to federal employment laws. In many cases, after a temporary employee works for a company for one year, the company has to offer him or her the same employee benefits that are offered to regular employees.

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