When it’s time to hire a worker, you need to first figure out exactly what kind of help you need. Do you want someone to work on a short-term basis, or is this a longer term hire? Do you need someone full-time, or only part time? Should you directly hire an employee, or is this the type of situation where you might use a staffing agency to obtain a temporary worker? Would an independent contractor better suit your needs?

There are multiple variations of the traditional workforce, including remote workers, leased workers, independent contractors and interns. The growing trend toward using less-traditional workforce relationships, such as using independent contractors, has led to questions about which entity will be liable when there is an employment violation.

Workers and worker representatives have attempted to expand the traditional definitions of “employer” and “employee” to broaden the potential points of recovery for wage and hour and other employment law violations. This has led to expanded liability concerns for those who outsource, use staffing agencies, subcontract for services or are franchisors.

For instance, the National Labor Relations Board has taken an expansive view of who is a “joint employer” for purposes of unfair labor practice charges. Also, the California Legislature has expanded wage and hour liability for employers that contract for labor.

The workplace is evolving. You must educate yourself about the issues that arise so you can make informed decisions and implement sound policies.

  • Employers will want to work with legal counsel to implement effective strategies to address legal risk.

Direct hire employees include short-term, seasonal and part-time employees. Non-direct hires include workers who are employed through temporary staffing agencies, leased employees, other contracted labor and independent contractors.

The distinction between direct employment and indirect employment (temporary workers, leased employees and independent contractors) is often blurred by the details of the arrangements and laws or court decisions designed to protect the interests of workers. This section explains how to make those distinctions and the implications of failing to do so.

Health care staffing, benefits and union issues are also discussed.