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Temp Workers Have Rights, Too

The climate for temporary workers will continue to improve over the next few years – good news for those who wish to enjoy the freedom and learning opportunities available to the temporary employee.

If you’re new to the world of temporary employment, you may have certain misconceptions about what happens when your agency places you in a job.

Did you know that temporary workers have federally protected rights? You may have heard that temps “have no rights,” that they are at the mercy of the placement management. It is true that, with certain exceptions, you can be terminated without cause. (That also applies to most permanent workers.)

But temporary workers have rights, and the staffing service you choose to work with should be able to recite them to you.

Among them:

  • You must be paid at or above the federal minimum wage, or the state wage in which you work, whichever is higher.
  • You are protected, just like any fulltime employee, against job discrimination based on race, gender, age, religion national origin, or disability.
  • If you are terminated from your temp job, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits.
  • You are covered by workers’ compensation laws, although the responsible party (temp agency or temp employer) may vary according to circumstances.
  • You have the right to work in a safe environment. It is the employer’s responsibility to provide that. If you do not feel the environment is safe, you can file a complaint. Your right to do so is also protected, meaning the employer cannot retaliate against you for filing the complaint.

The list of your rights as a temporary employer is even longer. When selecting a staffing service, ask them to explain your rights to you. Also ask whether they will be your advocate should the company you are placed with violates any of those rights.

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