The Real Employer

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Q: An experienced mechanic, I signed up with an agency that makes purchase-order agreements with clients, to recruit and provide candidates for employment.  The client fixes the hourly wages and benefits, conducts the interview and makes the final selection.

Last year, I was hired by a client, and assigned to work exclusively at its plant.  The client exerted comprehensive control over every facet of my work.  On a daily basis, the client assigned, supervised, instructed, oversaw, monitored and directed my work duties.  Nobody from the agency was ever at the jobsite, except that the agency’s director of personnel would deliver my weekly paycheck and comment on my job performance.

Despite its lack of day-to-day involvement, the agency carried the workers’ compensation, liability and unemployment insurance, and it would bill the client, withhold social security and provide my paycheck.  After I was injured, I received workers’ compensation benefits from the agency.  Now can I sue the client?            

A: Because the client controlled and directed the manner, details and ultimate result of your work, it was your real employer.  All the essential components of your work relationship were with the client.  In general, when workers’ compensation is received, the worker is barred from a negligence action against the employer. 

For the purposes and consequences of workers’ compensation, no arrangement between the agency and the client can displace an assessment made in court of the real employer.  It appears that your receipt of workers’ compensation benefits, although from the agency, serves to bar you from now suing the client.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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