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Employers Should Not Hide Behind Staffing Agencies to Evade Employer Requirements

May 16, 2023

If an employer uses a staffing agency to make decisions regarding its employees, who is on the hook for violation of the employment laws? Short Answer: BOTH!

A NY Company and its staffing agency will pay $120,000 settlement for collectively dropping the ball when an employee requested an accommodation through the staffing company, and it was not provided.

The Reason: The staffing company was not set up to address requests for accommodation, and assumed the client/employer was responsible to handle it. However, the employer assumed the staffing company should handle these types of employee issues. The staffing company and employer did not have a contract outlining their respective obligations and the request for accommodation feel through the crack.

Similar types of issues can arise for discrimination, harassment and retaliation claims, as well as complaints regarding unpaid wages and overtime. Many of these complaints require the employer to take action and investigate the complaint. The question arises - who is the employer and what obligations do both parties have?

In these types of arrangements, it is likely that both companies will have obligations and the “real employer” cannot hide behind the staffing company and claim ignorance for violation of the employment laws.

How Should the Parties Handle This?

  1. Have a Service Contract in place outlining both the staffing/recruiter and employer’s responsibilities, obligations and procedures regarding employee complaints, ADA requests for accommodation, timekeeping and overtime, harassment /retaliation complaints and other HR functions.
  2. Develop and circulate an employee handbook so the employees know who to go to if they have any of the issues listed in #1 above.
  3. Implement a "check and balance" system so important complaints do not fall through the cracks when employer obligations are triggered.

 With contracts and proper documentation to dictate the companies respective responsibilities and an employee handbook to direct the employee to the correct company, both companies should be in a better position to protect themselves against employment lawsuits, and to run an overall more efficient and effective workplace.

Have questions? Send me an e-mail.


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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for educational purposes only. The information does not constitute legal advice, and does not create an attorney client relationship with Karly Wannos, The Wannos Law Firm, P.A. or any other attorney employed by the firm. Karly Wannos is licensed to practice law in Florida only, and the information presented on this channel applies to Florida and Federal law only and is not otherwise state specific. Please consult with an attorney before making any important business related decisions. The contents of this post are owned by Karly Wannos, and cannot be duplicated or replicated without her express written permission. May be deemed an attorney advertisement.

The Wannos Law Firm, P.A. provides legal advice to Florida businesses. Karly Wannos is a workplace investigator for claims of discrimination, harassment and retaliation, Florida employment law mediator and provides training to businesses on employment laws. 

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