How Does the ADA Apply to Contingent Labor?

disabled businesswomanTitle I of the ADA prohibits discrimination by employers against disabled employees. It also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees who need them in order to perform their essential job functions. How will these ADA provisions apply when a staffing firm provides contingent workers to its clients?

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According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), both the staffing firm and the client have ADA-related obligations toward those employees, and both tend to exercise control of those employees’ employment and so both are likely to be considered “employers” in this scenario. Minimally, the staffing firm screens, assigns, and pays the employees, so its qualification as an employer is obvious. The client, to the extent that it supervises, directs and controls those employees’ work and/or day-to-day activities will also be deemed an employer.

The ADA covers employers that have at least 15 employees. If both the staffing firm and the client are joint employers of these employees, both must count them to determine if they have the requisite 15 employees. Each employer must count each employee from the day the employment relationship begins until the day it ends, even though the employee may not be present on each working day during that period.*

Exactly how do the anti-discrimination and reasonable accommodation provisions apply? Come back to The Staffing Stream and you will find out!

* Clients other than federal agencies, that have less than 15 employees and/or are not joint employers, may still be liable for interfering with disabled employees’ ADA rights.

MORE: Is Obesity a Disability Under the ADA?

Janette Levey Frisch
Janette Levey Frisch counsels senior management and HR professionals in multi-state labor and employment law issues. She can be reached at theemplawyerologist (at) gmail (dot) com.

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  1. […] Title I of the ADA prohibits discrimination by employers against disabled employees. It also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees who need them in order to perform their essential job functions.  […]

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