Question and Answer: Employment Status

Question:I am a full-time permanent employee. My employer has asked me to return to a Temp Agency and lose all of my permanent employee benefits. He has told me if I do not voluntarily comply, I will be fired. He is doing this to help himself comply with the “under 50 permanent employee” rule.

Is this legal? If I do refuse to return to the Temp Agency and am fired, would I be allowed to file for unemployment benefits?

Answer: This is a valid question that many employees may be facing in the upcoming year. However, this is more of a legal question for an employment attorney. Currently there is nothing in the Affordable Care Act that addresses whether or not employers will or could face legal action for terminating employees or making them work full-time for a temp agency to avoid having to offer them insurance. There will be additional guidance on the Affordable Care Act over the next year. Whether or not this will be addressed in the guidance though is unclear.