Companies in California and around the country have increasingly been turning to temp agencies to fill positions without having to worry about providing worker benefits. Additionally, some organizations have been skirting laws that prevent workers from being harassed because the company in question doesn’t actually have an individual on their payroll. The Labor Department also found that employees in these situations may not be receiving appropriate compensation.
In an effort to protect the rights of employees, which have been slowly eroding over the last few decades, the Labor Department has offered new guidance on joint employers. While the new guidance doesn’t change the laws, it does indicate to employers that there may be changes in the way that the law is interpreted.
Changes are already being seen in the way that legal decisions are made. In 2015, DirecTV agreed to pay contractors nearly $400,000 in back pay and damages. While employee rights groups are pleased with the changes, not everyone is. According to the National Federation of Independent Business, this move will make organizations less likely to work with smaller contractors. At the same time, the American Staffing Association is saying that the guidance will have little effect. Many believe that it is just an enforcement of laws that companies should be following anyway.
Workplace harassment is illegal, even if it is not someone’s manager or employer that is doing the harassing. If an employee reports a problem to a supervisor or human resources and it is not resolved, the company is still liable. Retaliation is also not allowed, so an employee cannot be punished for reporting a problem. If someone is being mistreated at work, a lawyer may be able to explain their rights and options for legal action.