One of the defining characteristics of the most recent recession has been the stagnancy of wages, including amongst temporary workers. Jobs are scarce and the ones that do exist are low paying with little opportunity for growth. A glaring example of this can be found in the frequency with which large corporations are turning to temporary workers and staffing agencies to fill their labor needs. In doing so, corporations are able to pay low wages for demanding work while also attempting to avoid liability for violations of workplace law. (Notably, temporary and staffing agencies often have joint employer liability with the company using the labor). Employee rights, it would seem, are once again ignored, circumvented, and dismissed in favor of corporate profits.
Recently, however, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law that may help to stem the tide. Assembly Bill 1897 will amend the labor code to ensure that private companies are held liable for any failure of labor contractors to provide employees with required wages and compensation. While similar protections have been in place for temporary workers in specific fields, the new law will extend protection to almost all California industries.
It has become an almost accepted practice for the vast majority of corporations to do everything in their power to provide employees with as little compensation, security, and comfort as legally possible. While this new law is a positive step in a different direction, there is much more work to be done. It is imperative that employees know their options and familiarize themselves with all of their existing rights under the law. If you believe your legal rights have been violated, consultation with an experienced attorney can provide you with this knowledge and inform you of your possible remedies.