DAVID RHOADES (Raleigh) successfully defended a workers’ compensation claim. The plaintiff was a temporary employee employed by a temporary employment agency. Mr. Rhoades represented the Company to which plaintiff was assigned to work. Plaintiff had worked for the Company for about a year. The Company approached plaintiff about being hired as a full time employee. The Company usually hired full time employees from the temporary workers. The process for hiring someone full time included a pre-employment physical and drug screen by the Company’s approved physician. The physical was scheduled by the Company on plaintiff’s personal time and plaintiff had to provide her own transportation. If the pre-employment physical was passed, the Company would then make a final determination to hire and additional paperwork would be signed at that time. Until then, plaintiff was not a full-time employee and was still a temporary employee of the temporary employment agency. There were occasions when employees were not hired, even after passing the physical. Plaintiff went to the physical and upon returning from the pre-employment physical, plaintiff was involved in a motor vehicle accident and was injured. The temporary employment agency acknowledged that injuries arising out of work of the Company were covered for workers’ compensation by the temporary agency. The Company argued that they did not have workers’ compensation coverage for the injury as there was no employer-employee relationship. The Deputy Commissioner found that there was no employment relationship between the Company and plaintiff and no conditional offer of employment had been made. He found that plaintiff was an employee of the temporary employment agency. The Deputy found that the pre-employment physical furthered plaintiff’s employment with the Company and therefore was covered by the workers’ compensation coverage provided by the temporary employment agency. The Deputy Commissioner found that the Company benefited from the hiring of temporary workers and specifically from plaintiff’s activity in that they could find good employees to hire through the temporary employment agency. The temporary employment agency benefited as the process where the Company could hire the temporary workers prolonged the business relationship between the two companies. Also the temporary agency benefited as it made the agency more attractive to other workers in that the temporary positions could turn into permanent positions with the Company. The temporary employment agency will likely appeal.
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