Contingent workers placed by staffing firms, including for example, temporary, contract, and leased workers, represent a growing segment of the labor force. Employment through staffing firms is particularly critical for individuals with disabilities who are seeking to move into the workforce. This means that such employment agencies have obligations to comply with federal laws and may not discriminate against qualified workers with disabilities.
JES Personnel Consultants, Inc., doing business as Genie Temporary Service, is a temporary service agency with an office in LaSalle, Ill., that supplies employees to various client employers. As a result of an EEOC lawsuit, it will cost JES $80,000 to the worker and his attorney for unlawfully refusing to allow an employee to return to work because of his epilepsy. JES placed the employee with Clover Technologies Group, LLC, where he unpacked and sorted ink cartridges. After he had a brief seizure on his first day of work, Clover allowed him to work the rest of the day, but asked him to provide a note from his doctor authorizing him to return to work after that. The EEOC said that the employee provided the note to Genie the next day, and Genie neither advised him that the note was inadequate nor forwarded the note to Clover, but the employee was not permitted to return and was terminated.
Interestingly, JES recently advised the court that it was going out of business. As a result, the decree provides that if JES, or its president and owner, reestablishes an employment agency, then the re-established business shall adopt a policy to comply with the ADA.
What would that policy include? That policy, at a minimum, should (1) establish a procedure for a an employee with a disability to request an accommodation; (2) provide that if an employee wants to return to work from a medical leave, the employment agency may only require a medical exam if it is job-related and consistent with business necessity; and (3) provide that if an employment agency receives a doctor’s authorization for a disabled employee to return to work and decides that the authorization is not adequate, it will advise the employee of the reasons for its decision.
Do you know the answers to questions such as...
What constitutes an offer of employment to a staffing firm worker?
Which entity - the staffing firm or its client - has to provide a reasonable accommodation for the application process?
Where a staffing firm and its client are joint employers of a staffing firm worker with a disability, which one has to provide reasonable accommodations needed on the job?
If you’re not sure how to answer these questions, contact Springboard’s Team to advise you about ways to mitigate your risk and attract and retain top talent.
This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.