A caller to my office has been working at a well known company for over six months. She has been doing the same job as every full-time employee in the department who has been there for years. She’s just not an employee of this Chicago area company. How is that possible?
Well, she was placed there by a staffing agency. So even though her day to day activities are no different than those of people paid directly by the company, she’s paid and employed by a temp service. This is true despite the fact that her work hasn’t been temporary.
As you can probably guess, she called me because she was injured while performing her job duties. She slipped on a wet floor, hurting her knee and wanted to know who she had a case against.
In this situation, it is almost certain that her work comp claim is against the staffing company. The contracts they and you sign make them the employer and even though it’s likely nobody from the staffing agency is on site at this factory, that doesn’t matter.
The second question is since the floor was wet, can she sue the borrowing employer that the temp agency assigned to her. You’d think that the answer would be yes, but in Illinois it’s generally no. An Illinois Appellate Court found that a borrowing employer is “immune from tort liability.” In plain English that means you can’t sue them for negligence. You also can’t sue the staffing agency for negligence because they are your employer.
The good news is that an Illinois workers’ compensation claim is not a lawsuit. So you still get all of your medical bills paid, all your lost time paid and a settlement for the permanent nature of your injuries.
Beyond that, there are some things we think all temp workers should know:
1. You have the same rights as every other worker in Illinois.
2. You are covered under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act the moment you start working.
3. If you are hurt while on the job, you should notify the employer you were staffed at as well as the staffing agency.
4. It does not matter if you do not have health insurance if you were hurt while working. 100% of your medical bills should be covered by the work comp insurance company. Notify the ER or any doctor you see that it is a work related injury.
As always, we get that some of this can be confusing. If you have any questions or want our help with a case, call or email us for free any time. We help with cases all over Illinois.