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Using a Staffing Agency to Supplement Your Growing Business? There is Something You Should Know

 Posted on October 12, 2016 in Employment Law

DuPage County employment law attorneysFor most small businesses, the path to success is tread in baby steps - a handful of positive reviews here, a newspaper feature there, and little by little, business picks up. Then there is this awkward stage. Much like a teenager who is trying to figure their place in the world and has not yet realized their full potential, budding businesses that have not quite reached the flourishing stage may struggle with the occasional shortages, such as around the holidays or during tourist season. Yet they may not have the need or resources for additional full-time employees. A staffing or outsourcing agencies can help fill the gaps, but it is important for small businesses to understand the potential liability.

Outsourcing and Staffing Often Results in Joint Liability

When you hire an employee within your company, you assume liability for ensuring that taxes are paid, overtime is paid, accurate exemptions are made, wage garnishments are withheld, and that everyone remains safe in a non-hostile work environment. Further, if any of your employees are injured, experiences sexual harassment, or is discriminated against (even by another employee), you are generally considered liable. What about those outsourced employees, though? They are not exactly yours, so does that release you from liability?

Unbeknownst to some small businesses, outsourcing or staffing for a position within your company often results in what is known as joint liability. Essentially, this means that you and the staffing or outsourcing agency are both held liable if labor laws are not adhered to, or if an injury or harassment issue arises. Very few exceptions exist, and the law has consistently moved closer and closer to closing any gaps that may release you from any implied liability.

Protecting Your Business from Joint Liability Issues

While any efforts to avoid liability may ultimately fail, there are some things that you can do to minimize your risk of experiencing a legal issue when using outsourcing agencies. First, it is critical that you carefully vet any and all outsourcing agencies that you use. Better yet, have an attorney assist you with the due diligence process. This can reduce the chances that you will accept an outsourced employee from a company known for violating labor laws. Further, your attorney can review any existing contracts you have with an outsourcing agencies to check for inconsistencies or problematic wording.

It is also important that you clearly define what tasks the outsourced employee will perform. This can eliminate confusion and prevent possible injury (which can be especially important in high-risk industries). Also, you should have a predetermined amount of time that outsourced employees will work with your company. If you notice that you are starting to rely on staffing agencies more frequently, you may want to consider the possibility of adding more team members to your current staff. You have the control in these situations, and you know your policies. This is far less risky for you than any outsourcing agency could ever be, even with careful vetting.

Contact Our DuPage County Employment Law Attorneys

Before you engage in outsourcing, contact Stock, Carlson & Asso. LLC. Dedicated and experienced, we can help protect you from unnecessary liabilities and inform you on your risks. We offer personalized small businesses representation designed to fit your specific needs. To learn more about how we can help your company, call 630-665-2500 and schedule a consultation with our DuPage County employment law attorneys today.


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