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Temp can’t sue both the client and the agency

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Temporary workers who are injured on the job are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. But who is on the hook for the workers’ comp claim? The temp agency or its client? According to a recent court ruling, it can’t be both.

Recent case: Working through a temp agency called Aerotek Temp, Antwan accepted an temp-to-permanent assignment as a welder for Northern Metal Fabricators. While on the job, he received instructions on how to use a drill to bore holes into metal pieces. However, the drill bit flew off and injured Antwan’s face.

Antwan filed a workers’ comp claim against Aerotek and a tort lawsuit against Northern Metal Fabricators, alleging that they had both been negligent either in providing a defective drill or for not providing the right training. He argued that Northern Metal was not his employer, but a third party liable for his injuries.

The court disagreed. It pointed out that Antwan knew he was a temp-to-permanent hire worker and accepted the assignment to Northern Metal. That made the two companies part of a common enterprise. Antwan could pick which employer to collect benefits from, but could not sue the other company in addition to collecting workers’ compensation benefits. (Dukes v. Northern Metal, No. 13-CV-03647, DC MN, 2015)

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read article June 23, 2015 at 8:34 am

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