A Swedish company has constructed airbag jeans for motorcyclists, designed to inflate for protection in the event of a crash. The denim-like fabric is water-repellent and abrasion-resistant. You can learn more here.
When riding a motorcycle, it’s smart to anticipate the possibility of injury. The same is true when engaging temps from a staffing agency.
Here’s what I mean. At some point, you’ll have a temp who requires reasonable accommodations for disabilities. The expense to accommodate might be small. But it might not be. Who pays for it, you or the staffing agency?
Last week, the EEOC announced a $119,000 settlement with a staffing company that rejected an applicant because of disabilities. The applicant, who is deaf, had been placed at a client. Before the applicant was to appear for work, a manager at the staffing agency cancelled the assignment, informing the applicant that the client did not have sign language interpreters available. The client, incidentally, was ready and willing to employ the applicant.
The EEOC’s news release doesn’t say whether the applicant actually needed an ASL interpreter or whether the client was planning to pay for one. But providing an ASL interpreter can be a reasonable accommodation. In a staffing agency relationship, who pays for reasonable accommodations needed by temps?
The best advice here is to plan ahead and put on those airbag jeans. Your contract with the staffing agency can address who pays for reasonable accommodations. All it takes is a short clause in the agreement. If the agency is paying, make sure there’s no markup on those expenses. Few staffing agency agreements address who pays for reasonable accommodations. But they should.
If you add a clause, differentiate between Title I and Title III obligations. Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits disability discrimination in employment. That’s the one you want to focus on. Title III of the ADA addresses public accessibility. You’ll pay for the wheelchair ramps and accessible doorways at your facility (Title III), but you may be able to shift the expenses of Title I compliance to the agency.
It’s also a good idea to make sure managers know to involve HR if disability or accommodation issues arise. You don’t want a manager saying “we can’t accommodate that” and ending a temp’s assignment.
Airbag jeans will be sold for $499 a pair. Reasonable accommodations may cost more. Either way, it’s smart to plan ahead and build protections in to your staffing agency agreement.
On March 7, I’ll be speaking at the 10th Annual Labor Relations and Employment Law Master Class Series, addressing recent developments in the contingent workforce area. I’ll be addressing joint employment and staffing agency relationships, and I plan to offer a list of ten items that should be in your staffing agency agreements but probably aren’t
Sign up here to learn more. There is no charge to attend the webinar.
© 2023 Todd Lebowitz, posted on WhoIsMyEmployee.com, Exploring Issues of Independent Contractor Misclassification and Joint Employment. All rights reserved.