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Questions on Staffing Services

A Staffing Services agency helps match employees to employers at a fee. Typically, they do all the initial work involved in the hiring process, including finding the right employee and paper work related to legal terms and conditions. Staffing services agencies may also screen professionals and conduct reference checks, criminal background checks, insurance physicals and even drug tests in specific instances. Companies benefit from staffing services as it reduces their administrative work and saves them time. Below are some of the top questions on legal issues involved with staffing services answered by Legal Experts.

I have been a contract worker with a staffing agency in Kansas and have been hired out to another company for the past two years. I have now been offered a position by the same company as a temp employee through my staffing company. However, I have been told that I would be eligible for benefits only after a year. Would the previous two years of employment not count?

In Kansas, there seems to be no laws that specify policies on how benefits are paid out. Typically, as a temp employee, you do not have the rights and benefits as that of an employee unless you are hired away from the temp agency. In such a case, you would be eligible for benefits as per the policies of the company.

However, you may file a complaint with the Department of Labor to see if they can find that you have been incorrectly classified and whether working for a certain period as a temp employee automatically makes you eligible for benefits as a common law employee.

As an employee of my staffing service, I have been placed with their customer as a part-timer. The contract between them states: "Customer does not have the right to hire any [XYZ] employees working full-time at the Customer's location … within twelve months." Does this mean I can be hired only 12 months after I have left the said customer?

In this particular case, the contract is ambiguous and, often, such ambiguities work against the person who has prepared the document. It follows that the client may either have to negotiate an agreement with your employer, or play it safe and not hire you. Since you are not party to the contract, you have little role or say in the matter.

I was selected through a pharmacy staffing agency to work as a pharmacist. However, I called in sick after working for three days. On my return I found that I had been replaced. Isn’t this a breach of contract, whether explicit or implied?

Since you have not worked with the pharmacy long enough, you would not have the legal protections guaranteed to regular employees. Thus, nothing in the federal or state law would make replacing you illegal. Unless your contract specifically states that you cannot be replaced for falling sick, you may have very few options as a legal recourse. Implied contractual obligations can only be created through company policies or what’s written in their employee handbook. If they have no clear policy on terminating sick employees, you would have no implied contract.

Can a North Carolina (NC) Staffing Service Company refuse to hire someone because they have a history of felony?

Typically, employers restrict hiring decisions regarding persons with criminal backgrounds only to those that have a criminal conviction related to the job they would be doing. However, there is nothing in the NC law or the federal law that requires employers to have such a policy. Employers with a general policy of not hiring anyone with a felony regardless of the type of crime committed or the job required of that person would potentially attract charges of discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The Act prevents discrimination of a particular class of people protected under the law, such as racial minorities. If you are a protected class, you may file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Else, the NC law offers few options.

My temporary staffing company states that my unemployment benefits are being stopped as per the contract which required me to notify them 48 hours after the termination of my assignment. However, I did notify the recruiting staff two days before my assignment ended and sought another assignment. Is this legal? Also, I was not placed under their employment till six months after the contract was signed. Would the contract still be valid?

The contract would be enforceable unless it had a termination clause or either party did not comply with the terms of the contract. In effect, it depends on the exact wording of the contract and the parties acting upon such a contract. Thus, you not being placed for six months post signing the contract does not make it void.

Now, strictly as per the terms of the contract you have stated, you should have contacted the agency 48 hours after termination of the assignment, and not two days prior, which is apparently what you did. You may appeal for continuation of your UI benefits on the basis that although you misunderstood the timeline specified in the contract, you did actually notify the agency and request for a new assignment which they have not provided you with.

Employees hired by staffing service agencies may be placed as part-time or full-time employees with companies. Such companies may hire the employees after a period of time. Since there are contractual obligations in such cases, individuals who are party to these contracts would benefit from understanding their legal obligations as well as their rights and as such may find it helpful to seek help from Legal Experts.
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