Draper v. American Rice, Inc., No. 01-09-00239-CV (Tex. Ct. App. 07/29/10).
The Texas Court of Appeals held that a temporary worker's negligence suit was barred under the exclusive remedy provision of the Workers' Compensation Act. The temporary employment agency and the client company were both employers of the worker for workers' compensation purposes.
What it means: A temporary employee may have more than one employer for workers' compensation purposes. A temporary employee may be working for a temporary staffing provider and also working for the client company. The test is whether the client company has the right to control the progress, details, and methods of operation of the work.
Summary: A worker obtained a job through a temporary employment agency, which provided employees to the company. The worker was lifting and moving boxes and he collapsed from overheating. The worker sued the company for negligence, claiming that it failed to provide him with a safe working environment. The Texas Court of Appeals held that the worker's suit was barred under the exclusive remedy provision of the workers' compensation act. The court concluded that the worker was an employee of both the company and the temporary agency for workers' compensation purposes.
The worker argued that the company was not his employer. The contract between the company and the temp agency identified the agency as the worker's employer. The contract required the temporary agency to provide supervision, pay the worker's salary, and provide workers' compensation insurance. However, the contract did not expressly establish who had the right to control workers assigned by the temporary agency to the company. Testimony by other employees of the temporary agency and the company indicated that employees of the company controlled the worker's day-to-day activities.
The court stated that a temporary employee injured while working under the direct supervision of a client company is conducting the business of both the temporary agency and its client. Therefore, a worker should be able to pursue workers' compensation from either, the court noted.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
November 1, 2010
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