As with any business partner, most companies assume that the staffing partner that they select is protecting them from future damages and charges. While during the course of employment most of the liability incurred with an employee would fall under the responsibility of the staffing firm, there are some cases in which an incorrect decision on your staffing partner’s behalf could effect you in the future.
Recently a produce company was ordered to pay almost $500,000 in back wages and damages to temporary workers who were incorrectly compensated for their work in the past. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the firm was investigated as part of a multi-year enforcement effort.
In this instance, the produce company operating in New Jersey was requiring temporary workers to report to the production area 15 minutes before their shift was to start but they were not compensated for this time. In addition to this uncompensated for time, the employees were on occasion paid piece rate wages which were not taken into account when calculating overtime.
In this case, both the produce company and their staffing firm were considered liable for Fair Labor Standards Act violations. The produce company signed a settlement agreement that including back wages and liquidated damages, amounted to $498,604. How can you help prevent being in a similar situation?
As with any potential business partner, you should pre-screen your staffing partner. The more established and experienced the staffing agency and their staff are, the more protection and quality of service you can expect. An established staffing agency should be able to provide you with a brief bio on the team who will be servicing your account, information on their corporate support structure, references from current and previous clients in your industry, and be familiar with appropriate laws and regulations in your industry. Choosing a staffing partner who can identify possible situations like the one above, can save you large amounts of money in the long run. While it is not the staffing partner’s responsibility to stop you from violations such as those above with the Fair Labor Standards Act, an experienced staffing professional is likely to bring it to your attention that you may be in violation or that such actions could cause you future damages or harm.
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Trillium, a national leader in staffing and recruitment is a valued staffing partner to over 5,000 companies nationwide. Trillium is privately owned by Oskar René Poch.