My Rights As a Temp

Do I Have Rights as a Temp?

As a Temporary, Contingent or Contract worker you have the same rights on the job as permanent employees do. No one is allowed to discriminate against you in the American workplace. Neither the agency nor the contracted company where you work can violate your statutory rights against your race, sex, gender, religion, color, national origin, age or disability. Both the agency you work for and the company that they send you to share responsibility for making sure that you are not exposed to illegal discrimination.

In spite of laws that protect all workers, many temporary workers face illegal discrimination in the workplace and they do so because they may not be fully aware of their rights in the workplace. Many who suffer such infractions against their rights are uncertain who to report to. It is important for temporary workers to know their rights and to therefore demand the respect that they deserve on the job.

Am I a temp?

You are a temporary employee if you are employed by a temporary employment agency. Typically this interim hiring firm will place you at another company’s work site to produce work. In this case, as soon as you begin performing work that contributes to that companies earnings; both the agency staff and the management staff may supervise you. In the scheme of things you are contracted out to another company. You can tell by whose in charge. Is it the agency or the company where you work telling you what to do? The answer is this: as a temporary worker it is safe to assume that both the agency and the company that you are sent to work for are in essence both your bosses. So if you encounter a problem on the job, you should duly inform both parties. The standard is to report any and all problems first to the temporary agency. The agency usually will handle any problems with the company they send you to, but if they don’t do so to your satisfaction – you have the right to complain to the subsequent company, especially if your rights have been violated on the job.

In order to gauge further, who is ultimately responsible for you as a temporary worker, ascertain who is supplying the fundamental tools, materials or equipment that you are going to work with. Are you working in a private business for yourself or not? How are you paid? Do you receive benefits? Since there may be many other factors that can render you to be a temporary worker, call the ERA (below) or other organizations to find out more information about your temporary employment status.

Remember: If you are discriminated against as a temporary worker, the responsibility may fall on both the agency that employs you and the company they sent you to. The agency should stop the discrimination immediately. In addition, the company they send you to may be responsible if they are supervising your work and control over you during your interim assignment. Ask yourself if the agency and the company both share or split duties.

Remember: If things go wrong on your assignment you have the right to go through your agency’s complaint process first. Write down the complaint and complain to both companies Human Resources Department. If your complaint cannot be resolved – inform both parties that you intend to file a charge with a state or federal agency.

Follow the same rules that the regular fully employed worker does when filing your state or federal claim. After exhausting all inner complaint procedural policies for the agency/company talk with an employment lawyer to acquire more information on exercising your full rights. People who implement these laws as a working professional have a better understanding of how you can legally pursue your rights. Like the regular full-time employee, remember to document your case, and keep copious records and keep a paper trail of work events.

Always use the company’s complaint or grievance process (first) to resolve any problems you may experience on the job. You can call ERA”S advice and counseling line at 1-800-839-4ERA for more information regarding your temporary employee rights.

Great Employee (help) resources to call below NOTE: Check the yellow pages if numbers and or locations change.

More Statewide Resources:

California Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

350 The Embarcadero Suite 500

San Francisco, CA 94105-1260


Phone: 1-800-669-4000: Fax: 415-625-5609: TTY: 1-800-669-6820:

Director: Michael Baldonado

California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH)

30 Van Ness Ave., Suite #3000

San Francisco, CA 94102

(800) 884-1684

Employment Law Center

Workers’ Rights Clinics

East Bay, South Bay, San Francisco

(415) 864-8208

La Raza Centro Legal

474 Valencia St., Suite #295

San Francisco, CA 94103

(415) 575-3500

Chinese for Affirmative Action

17 Walter U. Lum Place

San Francisco, CA 94108

(415) 274-6750

(Chinese Services Available – Cantonese and Mandarin)

NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund

99 Hudson St., 12th Floor

New York, NY 10013

(212) 925-6635

9 to 5 National Association of Working Women

231 West Wisconsin Avenue – Suite #900

Milwaukee, WI 53203

(800) 522-0925


1. Adecco

2. Manpower

3. Kelly Services

4. Olsten

5. Interim Services

6. Aquent

7. Robert Half International

8. Westaff

9. OfficeTeam

10. AppleOne