Staffing agencies are the go-to resource for New Yorkers looking for temporary work. As a general rule, a staffing agency “employs” the worker and sends them out on assignments. While you are out on an assignment, that employer dictates your day-to-day job functions. However, in some cases, the staffing firm issues your paycheck and may control other essential job details such as days off and benefits. So what does that mean for your employment rights?

Our team of sexual harassment lawyers in New York City wants you to know that you are in fact covered under anti-discrimination and anti-sexual harassment laws even if you are classified as a “temp,” “contractor,” “freelancer,” or other “non-employee” term.

If you work under a staffing agency and you are out on an assignment, you may qualify as an “employee” of the staffing firm, the employer you are assigned to, or both in the eyes of the law. In other words, staffing firms and their clients cannot discriminate against you on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability under federal law. Gender discrimination includes sexual harassment, discriminating against women, or discriminating against a woman because she is pregnant or nursing.

Federal sexual harassment laws: temp workers and their staffing agencies in New York City

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC), Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, a nation-wide law that dictates federal anti-sexual harassment laws, covers an employment agency.
In terms of referral practices and gender discrimination, it is unlawful for a staffing firm to:

  • Honor discriminatory employer preferences, such as an employer says they only want to hire men for executive positions
  • Make referral decisions based on a gender categorization, such as the staffing agency only sends women out on assignments doing clerical work
  • Discriminate against its own employees, such as paying women less than men

For more information, speak with one of our sexual harassment attorneys in New York City well-versed in these types of cases.

Federal sexual harassment laws: temporary workers and their assigned employers in New York City

Title VII also applies to temp workers’ assigned employers – also referred to as the “clients” of the staffing firm. If you are harassed or discriminated against while out on a job assignment, that employer can be held liable. They might share liability with the agency, but it is that employer’s responsibility to uphold the law in their work environment.
A sexual harassment lawyer in New York City can give you more information, but here are some examples of sex harassment and discrimination of temp workers:

  • When out on an assignment, your assigned superior asks you for sexual favors in return for a full-time, salaried position
  • An employer sends you back to the staffing firm because he says he cannot work with women
  • Your co-workers on your assignment make inappropriate sexual comments towards you

If you are being harassed or discriminated against, you should report it to the employer’s Human Resources department and your supervisor. You should also report the behavior to your staffing firm. If either party or both parties fail to act to stop the conduct, speak with a New York City sexual harassment lawyer right away, call us at 800-807-2209 for a free consultation. You may have grounds for a lawsuit.