Case name: Ex parte The Salvation Army, No. 2100033 (Ala. Civ. App. 02/18/11).
Ruling: The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals held that workers' compensation held the exclusive remedy for a laborer who was injured while working for a client of a temporary employment agency.
What it means:
In Alabama, a special employer is liable for workers' compensation if there is a contract for hire. An implied contract for hire exists when a temporary employment agency hires a worker to work for its client under the client's control.
Summary: A laborer was employed by a temporary employment agency. He was assigned to work for a client of the agency. The laborer was allegedly injured in a car accident while working for the client. He sought benefits from the agency and sued the client. The client asserted that it was the laborer's "special employer" and his suit was barred under the exclusive remedy provision. The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals held that workers' compensation held the exclusive remedy for the laborer's injury, and his suit was barred.
It was undisputed that the temporary employment agency was the laborer's "general employer." The client argued that it was also an employer of the laborer. The laborer's work was essentially that of the client, and the client had the right to control the details of his work. The court concluded that there was an implied contract for hire between the laborer and the client because the agency hired the laborer to work for the client under the client's control. Therefore, the court determined the client was the laborer's special employer. The court noted that whether the laborer considered himself an employee of the agency did not change its analysis.
The laborer's time sheet contained a provision that stated the client could not allow the laborer to drive a vehicle without the agency's permission. The court said the provision did not preclude a contract for hire. Also, a contract for hire still existed even though the laborer previously worked for other agency clients, and he only worked for the client for 10 weeks.
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March 31, 2011
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