Avoid this ADA Trap When Using Staffing Agency Workers

ADA staffing agency reasonable accommodation ambulance-2166079_1280ADA Quick Quiz: Your company uses staffing agency workers. A staffing agency worker discloses a medical need and asks for a reasonable accommodation — maybe a computer screen reading program, or an ergonomic chair, or a modified work schedule.

1. Which company must have the interactive conversation to determine what reasonable accommodation is appropriate?

(A) Your company
(B) The staffing agency
(C) Both

2. Which company is obligated to provide the reasonable accommodation?

(A) Your company
(B) The staffing agency
(C) Both

3. Which company is obligated today for the reasonable accommodation?

(A) Your company
(B) The staffing agency
(C) Both

Answers: Continue reading

Avoid this Common But Disastrous Mistake in Staffing Agency Agreements

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A client once asked me to review the Employment Agreement of a candidate they were considering hiring. The candidate had recently been terminated but his Employment Agreement contained a 12-month non-compete, and my client’s job offer seemed pretty clearly to be for a competing job.

But the terminating employer made once huge mistake. When it meant to terminate employment, instead it terminated the agreement … and with it, the non-compete.  Oops!

I see the same mistake in Staffing Agreements and Professional Services Agreements all the time.

These agreement are usually intended to serve as Master Service Agreements (MSA), with additional work orders to govern the actual services to be provided. These MSAs contain very important clauses that are intended to survive, even after the services have stopped. Examples of clauses intended to survive the termination of services include indemnification, insurance coverage, preservation of confidential information, and right to audit.

The mistake I see over and over, however, is the inclusion of a termination clause that allows for termination of the agreement, not merely termination of services.

Continue reading

Today’s Tip: Avoid Blurring Lines Between Independent Contractors and Employees

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This mistake may seem obvious, but companies do it all the time.  When an independent contractor is performing the same work as employees, the contractor is likely to be deemed an employee.

Remember, the determination of whether someone is an independent contractor or an employee is made based on the facts of the relationship, not what the parties call it. If the facts are that a contractor is doing the same work, in the same location, with the same instructions, and under the same supervision as an employee, then the contractor is likely an employee and should be paid as an employee.

I am not suggesting there is any problem using staffing agency workers or temp-to-hire.  Those workers are being paid by the staffing agency as employees. That is, their paychecks show withholdings and deductions, and their pay is reported by the staffing agency on a W-2, not a 1099. These are employees of the staffing agency (and very possibly your joint employees, but that’s a separate issue).

The issue addressed in this post is the use of 1099 independent contractors to perform the same type of work as employees.  If the work performed by an employee is employment, then it is very hard to maintain the position that the same work being performed by a contractor is not employment.

Summary: Avoid assigning contractors to perform the same work as employees.  When individual contractors and employees work side-by-side doing the same thing, the likelihood of misclassification is high.

© 2017 Todd Lebowitz, posted on WhoIsMyEmployee.com, Exploring Issues of Independent Contractor Misclassification and Joint Employment. All rights reserved.

Why Your Standard Agreements with Staffing Agencies Are Risky Business (Starring Tom Cruise)

broken-glass-joint-employment-agreementIt’s Valentine’s Day. You and your sweetie want to get away for the weekend. Your high school offspring will stay home. They seem responsible, promise not to break the law, and promise if they break anything they will pay for it. So you’re good, right?

Come on, wake up. Have you seen Risky Business? American Pie? House Party (very underrated movie, by the way)? Continue reading

Four FMLA Traps When Using Temp Workers — and How to Avoid Them

The FMLA is full of traps for companies who use staffing agency workers, both for staff augmentation and temp-to-hire. Here are a few of the most common mistakes and how to avoid them:

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photo credit: ransomtech Chimney Bluffs State Park via photopin (license)

1. Mistake: Not counting staffing agency time as service time, when determining whether the worker has worked for 12 months.

Tip: Staffing agency time counts. Add staffing agency time plus regular employee time to determine whether the worker has 12 months of service time. Accumulate all time worked during the past seven years. Continue reading