Since the 2008 recession, there has been an increase in the number of companies who look to temporary employees to perform work in factories, warehouses, and construction sites. If you are a temporary employee in New Jersey, you may be wondering what your legal rights are when it comes to workers’ compensation. The good news is that, even if you are only working a “temp job,” you are still entitled to workers’ compensation if you become injured in the course of your employment. There are some additional legal concerns, however, that you will need to worry about if you become hurt on-the-job and are not a regular employee.
First, employers have the same duty to provide a safe working environment for temporary employees as they do for permanent workers. This includes:
- Providing proper training and education on how to perform the job;
- Ensuring a safe and adequate work environment; and
- Making sure all necessary safety equipment is available.
Inadequate training for “temps” is one of the leading causes of injury for non-permanent workers, because many employers do not feel the need to expend the same time and resources to train an individual who may only be at the company for a short time period. As a result, the Occupational Safety and Health Association found that many reports of serious injury or fatalities involving provisional employees occur within the first week of employment.
For instance, a permanent worker may be required to spend a full day or longer learning to properly use work machinery, and this training process can involve first watching a more experienced worker perform the job duties. When employers are forced to meet seasonal demand or an upcoming deadline, they may be tempted to condense the training time from one day to as little as one hour. This could result in a temporary worker failing to know all the safety concerns on a piece of equipment, resulting in an injury that would qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
Some employers may also take advantage of non-permanent employees by subjecting them to less than adequate or unsafe working conditions. This can include not providing temporary workers with the same amount of break time or by requiring the temp agents to work through hotter than usual conditions in the summer months. Because the individuals will only be at the worksite for a short time, they may be less likely to complain at the end of the day.
Finally, individuals performing temp work should not be expected to perform the same job duties as permanent workers but with inadequate and unsafe equipment. Temp workers should wear the same safety devices as regular employees, as well as have access to any other safety equipment or precautions.
If you become injured while working a temporary job, it can be difficult to actually file a claim and receive your workers’ compensation award, even if you are entitled to benefits. This is because you may potentially qualify for workers’ compensation with two different employers – the workplace employer or the temping agency. Determining which employer to file a claim with creates an additional difficult for the injured worker, and this can change depending on how the injury occurred. You may also have different limitations or rights regarding the type of compensation available. For that reason, an experienced New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyer is recommended to help you sort through all the additional issues involved.
New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Shebell & Shebell Can Help Permanent and Temporary Employees Injured at Work
If you or someone you love receives an on-the-job injury or illness, you may be entitled to compensation or other related benefits. The experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Shebell & Shebell can help. We represent clients throughout New Jersey, including Monmouth County, Middlesex County, and Ocean County, including Howell, Freehold, Middletown, Shrewsbury, Wall, Union Beach and Neptune. For a free consultation, call us at 732-532-2011 or contact us online today.