An Employee Working for a Placement Agency May Not Sue the Agency’s Client
Pennsauken, NJ (Law Firm Newswire) June 18, 2020 – Job placement agencies often assign employees to clients’ warehouses, factories and other workplaces. If the employee is injured while working for the client, the employee cannot sue the client. This principle was reiterated in a recent decision of the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey.
On Target Staffing, LLC (On Target), a job placement agency, entered into a “Temporary Employee Work Agreement” with Alberto Uribe. Uribe started working at the warehouse of Quartz Master, On Target’s client. Uribe reported each day to Quartz Master directly for over four years. Uribe testified that the manager of the warehouse supervised him and told him what to do.
Uribe suffered an injury while performing his duties in the warehouse. He received workers’ compensation benefits from On Target. He filed a tort lawsuit against Quartz Master. A trial judge ruled that Quartz Master was the special employer of Uribe and, therefore, Uribe could not file a civil suit against Quartz Master.
An employee cannot file a civil lawsuit against his or her employer. When an employer borrows the employee of another, whether that employee can file a civil suit against the borrowing employer depends on whether the borrowing employer is a special employer.
In a 1995 case, the Supreme Court of New Jersey listed three factors indicative of a special employment relationship:
* The employee made a contract of hire with the special employer.
* The employee’s work is essentially that of the special employer.
* The special employer controls the details of the employee’s work.
New Jersey courts later added two more factors – the special employer pays the borrowed employee’s wages and has the power to hire, discharge or recall the employee. No single factor is controlling, and not all five are necessary to establish a special employment relationship.
In Uribe v. Quartz Master, the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey applied these factors. It determined that Quartz Master was the special employer of Uribe. Therefore, Uribe could not file a tort action against Quartz Master.
An employee working for a job placement agency needs to know his or her rights in the event of an injury. Talk to a workers’ compensation lawyer at Petrillo and Goldberg at 856.249.9295.