Your-Rights-As-A-Temporary-Worker-1024x552.jpg (1024×552)Temporary work has many benefits. It lets you sample different industries, pads your CV, and keeps money coming in when you are looking for a permanent position. However, it’s not always so rosy a situation. Too often, companies take advantage of temporary workers. They will try to weasel out of meeting their obligations by misclassifying you as an independent contractor or blame the temp agency you work for when obligations are not met.

The state of California is wise to their maneuvering and has gotten tough on this responsibility two-step. The Assembly passed AB 1897 in 2014, which allows the government to fine companies that flout labor laws when using temporary workers. What is particularly fantastic about this law is that they defined the ‘client employer’ that they will hold liable as ‘a business entity…that obtains or is provided workers to perform labor within its usual course of business from a labor contractor.’ The only exception is if the company is smaller than 25 people, is the state, or hires five or fewer temps. If you are a temporary employee and work somewhere, that somewhere is held liable for respecting your rights by definition. So, what are these rights?

Meal and Wage Laws Apply To You, Too

The ‘client employer’ shares responsibility with the temp agency to meet all the regular meal and wage laws on the books, and there is no mention anywhere of exempting temporary employees from the state’s labor laws. That means that the minimum wage for you is $11 as of January 1, 2018, and is going up a dollar a year until 2023, just as it is for permanent employees. Overtime rules apply to you. You receive the same 10-minute break for every 4 hours worked and half hour lunch break before the 5-hour mark that anyone else does. The only difference is that it is the temp agency that has to cut you the check at regular intervals instead of the ‘client employer.’ And, according to California Assembly AB 1897, the temp agency is prohibited from entering into a labor contract with a client employer if they know or should know that there are not enough funds to comply with the rules involved, so no one gets to claim that there isn’t enough money to pay you what you are owed.

You May Get Paid Sick Leave

Starting July 1, 2015, employers have to provide a minimum amount of paid sick leave to all employees, even part-time and temporary workers. If you have worked more than 30 days in a year for a particular client employer, you qualify for at least an hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked. The bill requiring this is the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act, or SB 3, and it also details how employers are supposed to track the amount of paid sick leave is used. Your employer is allowed to either create a regular accrual system for those hours so long as an employee would get 24 hours of sick leave after working for a company for 120 days, or they can provide a minimum of 24 hours of sick leave for every 120 days at the beginning of the year. They can create any other system, too, so long as they exceed the 24-hour or 3-day requirement.

You Deserve To Be Safe

The only difference between working for one employer and working for 2 employers as far as safety goes is that both entities will be held responsible for keeping the work environment safe. According to the DOSH publication ‘Protecting Temp Agency Employees,’ OSHA requires temp agencies to ‘take reasonable steps to evaluate conditions’ and make sure that you will have the proper training and equipment on the assignment they are sending you to. You are allowed to refuse work that you reasonably believe to be dangerous and be reassigned to another company without penalty, too. The client employer has to provide site-specific instructions on how to do your job safely and have a safety program in place.

Just because you will be working in one place for short periods of time doesn’t mean that you can be treated any differently from a permanent employee. If your temp agency and employer are not respecting your rights or you have questions about your rights, contact Aiman-Smith and Marcy. We are a boutique law firm that specializes in consumer fraud, labor violations, and class-action lawsuits, so we have the expertise to take on your employer.

Leave a Reply

Lisseth Bayona


Education and Background

I am a Los Angeles native and daughter of Salvadorian immigrants. From an early age, my parents instilled the value of hard work and education in me and my two siblings. Their perseverance enabled each of us to graduate from college and earn professional degrees.

My interest and commitment to workers’ rights have roots in my parents’ experiences as undocumented workers in Los Angeles. Witnessing the challenges they faced inspired me to pursue a career where I can help individuals confronted with similar struggles. To help someone in those moments is very satisfying. I love connecting with people and learning about their stories. I believe that dignity in the workplace is a right of all workers, not a convenience or privilege reserved for employees of a certain race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Legal Experience

I received my J.D. from the University of Southern California (USC) Gould School of Law. While there, I served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Patrick J. Walsh of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, where I drafted a criminal judicial opinion. Also, while at Gould, I served as an extern for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. As a Criminal Division Extern, I had the opportunity to work closely with a trial team of Assistant U.S. Attorneys on a money laundering case which further sparked my interest in litigation.

Personal Interests

In my free time, I enjoy urban vegetable gardening, traveling, and spending time with my nephew and niece. I also love to spend time at San Onofre Beach learning to surf, although admittedly, I am not very good.



Hallie L. Von Rock

Attorney (SBN 233152)

Education and Background

I moved to the Bay Area from Washington after graduating high school. I had been accepted to UC Berkeley through a program where I could defer for two years while getting my California residency and attending community college, which was significant since I was paying for college on my own. I began working for Randall Aiman-Smith and Reed Marcy in 1996 as an office manager while taking night classes. My first foray into the legal world was soon after starting at the firm when I was ready to transfer to UC Berkeley. Rather than accepting my resident status, the Board of Regents took the position that California residency required a student to be in California “two calendar years.” Randall and Reed took up my case with the same verve as they helped their actual clients and I got the chance to comb through the UC Berkeley library to read their codes and regulations to support my position. In that experience, I learned what is was like to feel helpless against a big organization and then to have dedicated attorneys in my corner to take up my cause.

After a break to pursue my major in art history, I went to UC Hastings College of Law and continued working with Randall and Reed. Having worked together now for over 25 years, we have a unique ability to work collaboratively and finish each other’s sentences. I have strived throughout my career to make a difference in the lives of our clients. At the end of the day, if I am helping someone to get compensation for losses they suffered, then I know that all the work put into a case has been worth it.

Legal Experience

I have extensive experience in civil litigation and class action cases, including conducting discovery and depositions, calculating damages analysis, preparing motions for certification, writing appellate documents, and overseeing claims administration. We have handled several class actions against retailers where plaintiffs claimed they were forced to purchase clothing to wear to work and were not compensated for these purchases, including against Abercrombie & Fitch, Hugo Boss, Armani Exchange, Uniqlo, Dollar Tree, and Ross. Recently, I was trial counsel in a defamation claim against Bank of America on behalf of a former employee who claimed the Bank blacklisted her with future employers. The jury found Bank of America liable, including for punitive damages.

Personal Interests

Aiman-Smith & Marcy has sponsored me in the Boston Marathon and New York Marathon. When I race, I often wear a “Rockstar Ronan” shirt to support research for childhood cancer through The Ronan Thompson Foundation.


University of California, Berkeley, B.A., 1999

Hastings College of the Law, University of California, J.D., 2004

Randall Aiman-Smith

Abogado (SBN 124599)

Aiman-Smith & Marcy. Oakland consumer fraud attorneys.

Educación y antecedentes

Fui afortunado. A pesar de no haber terminado la escuela secundaria o la universidad, pude -aunque con mucho trabajo- ser admitido y sobresalir en una de las mejores escuelas de derecho del país: La Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Berkeley. Mientras estuve allí, tuve el privilegio de ser editor de la California Law Review y miembro del Moot Court Board, asesorando en la redacción de escritos y en la defensa de apelaciones a otros estudiantes. Después de salir de la escuela de derecho, en mis primeros años de práctica, enseñé la escritura legal y la defensa de apelación en la Universidad de California, Hastings College of the Law. También, a lo largo de los años, he sido presentador en eventos de educación legal continua.

Experiencia legal

He sido abogado durante 35 años. He dedicado mi práctica exclusivamente a representar a empleados, consumidores e inversores en los tribunales estatales y federales de primera instancia y en los tribunales de apelación. Me gusta ir a los tribunales por mis clientes y he llevado muchos casos con jurado en los tribunales estatales y federales.

¿Ejemplos? En 2010, fui la abogada principal, junto con los otros abogados del bufete, en el caso Williams v. Union Pacific Railroad donde, después de cuatro años de preparación, el bufete obtuvo un veredicto del jurado de 1.670.000 dólares para una empleada afroamericana. En Rivero v. Surdyka, fui el abogado principal en el juicio y la apelación de un caso de derechos civiles que duró 15 años, incluyendo un juicio completo y tres apelaciones al Noveno Circuito, concluyendo finalmente con una sentencia para los demandantes de más de 2.300.000 dólares. Estos casos ilustran el lema del bufete: compromiso – resultados. Hay que comprometerse con un caso, a veces durante mucho tiempo, para obtener el resultado que el cliente merece.

No siempre ganamos en el juicio. Cuando eso ocurre, el compromiso significa llevar el caso al siguiente nivel y recurrirlo. En el caso Rivero, antes mencionado, eso fue lo que ocurrió: el tribunal desestimó el caso -habíamos perdido- pero apelamos y conseguimos una victoria para nuestros clientes que mantuvimos a través de dos apelaciones más. Desde entonces, el bufete ha conseguido muchas victorias en apelación que reivindican los derechos de los empleados y los consumidores.

A lo largo de los años he sido abogado de los demandantes en numerosos casos individuales y acciones colectivas. Puede sonar cursi, o difícil de creer, pero después de todo este tiempo, y después de todas las grandes experiencias que he tenido, mi parte favorita de ser abogado es cuando consigo dar un cheque a mi cliente.



Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de California, Berkeley, J.D., 1986