Do I have rights as a temporary worker?
As a temporary, contingent or contract worker, you have the same rights on the job as permanent employees. No one can discriminate against you in the American workplace. Neither the agency nor the contracted company where he works may violate his statutory rights based on his race, sex, gender, religion, color, national origin, age, or disability. Both the agency you work for and the company you are sent to share a responsibility to make sure you are not exposed to unlawful discrimination.

Despite laws that protect all workers, many temporary workers face unlawful discrimination in the workplace and do so because they may not be fully aware of their workplace rights. Many of those who suffer this type of violation of their rights do not know where to turn. It is important that temporary workers know their rights and therefore demand the respect they deserve at work.

Am I a temp?

You are a temporary employee if you are employed by a temporary employment agency. Typically, this interim hiring company will place you at another company’s workplace to produce the work. In this case, as soon as you start doing work that contributes to the profits of that company; both agency staff and administrative staff can supervise you. In the scheme of things, you are outsourced to another company. You can find out by whom. Is it the agency or the company where you work that tells you what to do? The answer is this: As a temp, it’s safe to assume that both the agency and the company you’re sent to work for are essentially your boss. So if you encounter a problem at work, you must duly inform both parties. The rule is to report any and all problems first to the temp agency. The agency will usually take care of any problems with the company it sends you to, but if it doesn’t do so to your satisfaction, you have the right to file a complaint with the subsequent company, especially if your rights have been violated at work. .

To further assess who is ultimately responsible for you as a temporary worker, find out who provides the critical tools, materials or equipment you will be working with. Are you working in a private business on your own or not? How do they pay you? Do you receive benefits? Since there may be many other factors that can make you a temporary worker, call the ERA (below) or other organizations for more information about your temporary employment status.

Remember: If you are discriminated against as a temporary worker, the responsibility may lie with both the agency that employs you and the company to which you were sent. The agency must stop the discrimination immediately. Also, the company you are sent to may be liable if they monitor your work and monitor you during your interim assignment. Ask yourself if the agency and the company share or divide functions.

Remember: If things go wrong on your assignment, you have the right to go through your agency’s grievance process first. Write down the complaint and make a claim to the Human Resources Department of both companies. If your complaint cannot be resolved, inform both parties that you intend to file a charge with a state or federal agency.

Follow the same rules that a regular fully employed worker follows when filing your state or federal claim. After exhausting all internal agency/company grievance procedural policies, speak with an employment attorney for more information on how to exercise all of your rights. The people who implement these laws as working professionals have a better understanding of how you can legally exercise your rights. Like the regular full-time employee, remember to document your case and keep copious records and a paper log of work events.

Always use the company’s complaint or grievance process (first) to resolve any problems you may experience at work. You can call the ERA Advice and Counseling Line at 1-800-839-4ERA for more information about your rights as a temporary employee.

Great Employee Resources (Help) to Call Next NOTE: Check the Yellow Pages if numbers or locations change.

More state resources:

California Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
350 The Embarcadero Suite 500
San Francisco, CA 94105-1260
Phone: 1-800-669-4000: Fax: 415-625-5609: TTY: 1-800-669-6820:
Director: Miguel Baldonado

California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH)
30 Van Ness Avenue, Suite #3000
San Francisco, CA 94102
(800) 884-1684

Labor Law Center
Workers’ Rights Clinics
East Bay, South Bay, San Francisco
(415) 864-8208

La Raza Legal Center
474 Valencia Street, Suite #295
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 575-3500

Chinese for affirmative action
17 Walter U. Lum Plaza
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 274-6750
(Chinese services available: Cantonese and Mandarin)

NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund
99 Hudson St., 12th Floor
New York, NY 10013
(212) 925-6635

9 to 5 National Association of Working Women
231 West Wisconsin Avenue – Suite #900
Milwaukee, WI 53203
(800) 522-0925


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