Warn supervisors and managers: They should treat temporary workers who come to you via an employment service or agency just like they do other employees. All the normal rules on workplace discrimination still apply.
That means temps who experience harassment or discrimination may be able to sue both the temp agency and your company for that discrimination.
Recent case: Latiskia Chapman, who is black, worked as a temporary employee for Today’s Staffing and was assigned to work at Duke Energy. She was the only black worker in her section and claimed that her supervisor was constantly telling her she was taking too long for her breaks.
But Chapman claimed she never took a longer break than the rules allowed. She also said her supervisor asked questions like “Do all black people go to the bathroom a lot?”
When Chapman complained to Today’s Staffing, the agency told her she should think about her paycheck before complaining. Shortly after, Today’s Staffing told her she would no longer work at Duke. It never sent her on another assignment.
Chapman sued both Today’s Staffing and Duke Energy. Duke Energy argued that it had never been Chapman’s employer. The court said that wasn’t obvious, since Duke Energy controlled almost everything Chapman did, including setting the length of her breaks. The court said the case could go forward against both companies. (Chapman v. Duke Energy, No. 3:09-CV-37, WD NC, 2010)
- Beware long suspensions, even with pay! They could be adverse employment actions
- Be clear which company is the employer.
- 'Keep it confidential' may let employers off liability hook
- After employee files internal complaint, beware anything that might look like retaliation
- Before firing, consider entire work history