Workers’ compensation cases are confusing enough. But if you are working at a job that you obtained through a temp agency, the questions can be endless. If I am working for a temp agency, can I still obtain workers’ compensation? If I can get workers’ compensation benefits, who do I list as my employer: the staffing agency or the place where I have been working? Who is my employer?
The very short answer is, yes you are entitled to workers’ compensation if you were injured on a job that you obtained through a staffing agency (so long as you are not an independent contractor, but that is a discussion for another day). Who is responsible for paying your workers’ compensation benefits is a more involved question.
To you, as the employee, it almost doesn’t matter which employer is responsible as long as you are entitled to benefits. A lot of the time, both of the employers are going to end up being responsible. In determining who to list as your employer, it is safe to list whichever employer is giving you a check. Or, better yet, you can list both.
The Industrial Commission of Arizona is going to look at the question of “whose work is being done.”
The lent employee doctrine says that you may be entitled to workers compensation benefits from the employer the staffing agency sent you to if certain tests are met. The purpose of the lent employee doctrine is to help injured workers by providing the possibility of getting workers’ compensation benefits from either the temporary staffing agency or the second employer.
The lent employee doctrine calls the staffing agency the “general employer” and the employer that they send you to a “special employer.”
The lent employee doctrine applies when a general employer, such as a temp agency lends an employee to a special employer like a factory. In such cases, pursuant to the doctrine, the factory also becomes liable for the injured workers' compensation coverage if:
- the employee has made a contract of hire, express or implied, with the special employer (the factory);
- the work being done is “essentially” that of the special employer (the factory); and
- the special employer (the factory) has the right to control the details of the work.
Of course this doctrine comes with catch – what is the catch? If the lent employee doctrine applies, it extend to the special employer the immunity protection from being sued as a result of your injury.
So you are covered for workers’ compensation purposes, but also you are essentially barred from filing a personal injury claim against the special employer. If you have any questions about the availability of workers’ compensation coverage stemming from your employment by a staffing agency, please give Fendon Law Firm a call for a free consultation.