Retailers, restaurants and many other types of businesses routinely take on more help to handle customers during the holiday season. While seasonal employees may not be entitled to the same employer-provided benefits (i.e., health insurance, vacation) as their permanent coworkers, they are entitled to the same anti-discrimination protections.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) is a Federal law that prohibits discrimination by employers on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Businesses with 15 or more employees are subject to the regulations set forth in Title VII. All employees, including temporary ones, are factored in this calculation and afforded the protections of Title VII.
Often, seasonal employees are “placed” with the assistance of a staffing agency. In these situations, it is common for an individual to be considered an employee of both the staffing agency and the business to which they are assigned. Both businesses will be considered the worker’s employer if both have the right to exercise control over the worker’s employment. This is commonly known as the “joint employer doctrine” and is predicated on the notion that Congress did not intend for temporary employees to fall through the cracks and be subjected to limitless discrimination at their places of work.
An experienced employment attorney can assess the facts of your case and determine whether you have a valid discrimination claim arising from your temporary employment.