Employment Practices Liability and Temp Staffers

Temporary staffing agencies provide temporary hires to companies, which allow organizations to save on recruiting, training, and payroll costs, particularly when it comes to staffing high-turnover or seasonal jobs. But there may be considerable risks of employment practices liability attendant upon the use of temporary workers along with the cost-effectiveness of temp staffing.

Temporary workers, due to the nature of their title, are often dismissed quickly, without the same level of care and caution that managers usually exercise when dealing with traditional employees. Then there is also the risk that temporary staff will be subjected to sexual or racial harassment because of their limited time at a company, or the mistaken belief that workplace laws forbidding such behavior do not cover them.

Temporary workers deserve equal treatment

The concern is that companies may make important personnel decisions hastily or use criteria that wouldn’t normally be applied to their regular staff. This is rather alarming since, regardless of the length of the commitment, everyone deserves to be treated equally and fairly. And the reality is that temporary employees are covered under most of the same laws that apply to regular staff, including laws relating to wages and hours, discrimination, sexual or racial harassment, retaliation, or whistle-blowing.

It’s the Human Resource (HR) department’s job to increase awareness among supervisors and managers that temporary workers are entitled to the same treatment as so-called “regular” staff. In addition, HR should encourage supervisors and managers to act just as prudently and carefully when dealing with temporary staff as they would with regular employees.

This effort should include a review of the organization’s employee manual to ensure that, wherever appropriate, policies are worded as necessary to make it clear that these laws apply to temporary employees as well. Employment practices liability is something that everyone should be aware of, and do their part in the prevention of any type of violations.

Hiring procedures and background checking

A growing number of employers conduct pre- and post-hire checks of applicant criminal history and other background information, which helps weed out anyone deemed undesirable. When it comes to temporary employees, HR needs to ensure that temporary-staffing contractors are conducting criminal or other background checks, as applicable, before sending over a temporary employee.

These requirements should be part of any service or vendor contract with your temp-staffing provider. Additionally, employers must continue to ensure compliance by outside staffing firms with various other employment-related laws, such as laws and regulations relating to payroll taxes, income taxes, and immigration laws.

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