CWS 3.0: October 26, 2011 - Vol. 3.30

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Legal Eagle: Staffing Firm Settles Interview Time Pay Suit

Last month, Kelly Services Inc. settled a class-action lawsuit filed by contingent workers who claimed time spent during interviews should be compensated. In Sullivan v. Kelly Services Inc., filed in August 2008, Catherine Sullivan and other contingents sought compensation for time spent interviewing with Kelly’s client companies as well as travel time and expenses and time spent preparing for interviews.

Courts had previously ruled that travel time and expenses, as well as time spent preparing for the interviews were not compensable. However, because of the level of control Kelly maintained over its temps with regard to scheduling and contact through the interview process, the courts ruled that time spent during interviews was compensable under California law. Kelly settled with the plaintiffs for $2.75 million.

Since the suit was initially filed, contingents of other staffing firms have filed similar lawsuits. Also in California, current and former temporary employees of temporary staffing firms including AB/TI Inc. seek unpaid wages and penalties for their time spent interviewing with clients in the case of Gore v. AB/TI, et al., filed in August 2010.

With settlements like this one, the cost of using staffing firms, at least in California, may rise as those firms attempt to recover the increased costs they incur in compensating employees for time spent attending interviews. Companies may want to limit the number of candidates that are interviewed for assignments.

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