Legal Obstacles For Indiana's Temporary Employees

As the economy continues its slow recovery from the Great Recession, employers in Indiana and around the nation are relying more heavily than usual on temporary workers. While business is gradually improving for many employers, some are not yet willing to commit to taking on new full-time employees, choosing to rely on contractors and temps instead.

With the 2012 winter holidays fast approaching, Indiana's temporary and seasonal workforce is likely to grow even larger to accommodate the annual retail boom. And, in some industries, the trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. Between 2006 and 2016, temporary staffing is expected to increase by 29.4 percent in the janitorial industry and 21.8 percent in the shipping and receiving industry, according to a study by the Labor Relations and Research Center at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

While temporary employment can help boost the economy and provide a source of income for employees who might otherwise be out of work, it can also lead to legal problems when employment disputes arise.

A recent example of the potential pitfalls of temporary employment occurred in early 2012 when a group of Indianapolis hotel workers filed a lawsuit against the staffing agency they worked for and 10 hotels that contracted with the agency. The workers claimed that the agency failed to pay them for all of the hours they worked, and also alleged that a contract between the hotels and the staffing agency prevented the workers from being able to find work outside the agency. In July, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard vetoed a proposed ordinance known as "Freedom to Work" that would have prevented hotels from entering such agreements with staffing agencies in the future.

Wage And Hour Violations Increase When Jobs Are Scarce

Wage and hour violations are among the most common causes of employment disputes among temporary and permanent workers alike. In a tough job market like today's, wage and hour violations tend to increase because employers often try to cut costs by demanding more from a smaller workforce, sometimes failing to pay workers all that they are entitled to.

Unfortunately, many workers who are denied fair payment for their work are reluctant to stand up for their rights because they fear they may be fired or face other negative employment consequences. Although there are laws designed to protect workers from retaliation in these situations, many remain silent until after they have lost their jobs, at which point they may feel they have nothing left to fear. Indiana workers dealing with wage and hour violations or other employment disputes should speak with an experienced employment lawyer to learn about their rights and legal options.