Time & Attendance
By Rachel Schaller
Aug. 28, 2014
In 2013, the staffing industry generated $122 billion in sales, with $109.2 billion coming from temporary and contract staffing, according to the American Staffing Association.
Companies often use temporary employees because they offer scheduling flexibility, potential savings in time and money and specialized skills.
As more employers use staffing agencies, they should pay attention to the possibility that their organization, and not the staffing agency, could be liable for the tortious conduct of a temporary employee.
The first step in determining whether your company, as the special employer, is liable for that employee’s negligent conduct is to assess whether you have control over the employee. This inquiry is fact-intensive and can result in a finding that the general employer, special employer, or both, had the right to control an employee’s conduct and, therefore, may be liable for negligence. Similarly, if the employee claims discrimination or harassment, both the general and special employers can be charged in a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint. If your firm uses a staffing agency, review the contract carefully to make sure that liability related to temporary employees is clearly and fairly allocated.
Consider: Whether the conduct is required by or incidental to the employee’s duties and whether the conduct was reasonably foreseeable in light of your company’s business. If you are a special employer, carefully outline the temporary employee’s duties and responsibilities to protect against possible liability for a temporary employee’s actions.
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