On Ethically Managing a Staffing Company | DCR Workforce Blog

On Ethically Managing a Staffing Company

staffing companyIn law a man is guilty when he violates the rights of others.

In ethics he is guilty if he only thinks of doing so.”- Immanuel Kant.

The Ethisphere Institute’s 2014 list of the world’s most ethical companies has been released. The Institute assesses businesses on five parameters: ethics and compliance program, reputation, leadership and innovation, governance, corporate citizenship, and responsibility and culture of ethics. All businesses strive to be compliant with legal guidelines and regulatory requirements. So, what could set some businesses apart and gain them recognition for an ethical approach which extends beyond the norm?

Curious to learn more about what it takes for a staffing company to qualify as ethical, we delved deeper to bring you some guidelines. Given that a staffing company is committed to candidates on the one side and customers on the other, let us look at both of these aspects separately.


  • Treat everyone with fairness, dignity and respect and provide equal opportunity to all.
  • Maintain high standards of integrity in all recruitment advertising and avoid all discriminatory practices in the recruitment process.
  • Establish honest and open communication when discussing a potential job opportunity, including pay scales, work hours, benefits, work environment, and duties.
  • Pay all wages and benefits as per the terms of employment and applicable legal tenets.
  • Fulfill all financial obligations as an employer, paying the employer’s share of social security, state and federal unemployment insurance taxes, worker’s compensation and all negotiated benefits.
  • Address all employee questions, concerns and other queries with regard to the terms and conditions of their employment.
  • Avoid potential misunderstandings through written contractual agreements with workers that specify work schedules and conditions, compensation, anticipated assignment end date, and ‘employer of record’ roles and responsibilities of the staffing agency. Reinforce that the worker is not an employee of the client, and not eligible for the benefits and programs offered to the client’s permanent employees.
  • If screening activities reveal something negative about a candidate, notify the individual and provide an opportunity to explain or to rectify the situation.
  • Maintain the confidentiality and protection of personal information. Decide what can be revealed, and include every detail in the terms of the contract.
  • Strictly adhere to safety policies, to the extent of monitoring safety at the client’s workplace. Impart sufficient safety training and supply the employee with adequate safety equipment.
  • Provide suitable training to employees and encourage all those who wish to upgrade their skills.
  • When providing day labor services, ethical staffing practices require the staffing agency to protect the workers from interminable waits in anticipation of work. Pay a minimum compensation when they come prepared to work but fail to get any. State laws govern the conduct of a staffing company in these matters.
  • Provide an itemized statement to ever worker, showing their gross earnings, advances, deductions and net earnings for that pay period. Do not impose further wage cuts to workers drawing minimum wages, claiming expenses on transport etc.
  • Provide the workers with amenities and surroundings which are clean and adequate to their needs.


  • Set accurate expectations as to the positions your company can fill and the time required to source and onboard candidates.
  • Find the most qualified person to fill a job.
  • Verify in advance that candidates are available and potentially interested in the position. Don’t waste your client’s time by submitting candidates who are not prepared to accept the assignment if offered.
  • Ensure clear and open communication with regard to fees charged, candidate screening methods and training imparted.
  • Adhere to and comply with industry practices, responsibilities and duties, state and federal laws, IRS’ diktats, minimum wage laws, while maintaining up-to-date documentation.
  • Assess the qualifications of candidates and communicate all relevant information to the client honestly and openly.
  • Refuse to indulge in unfair practices while assuming the responsibility to educate customers (as well as candidates), when they seek to screen out candidates based on specific attributes (or when candidates refuse work in workplaces which embrace diversity).
  • Protect client confidentiality with regard to their business plans, operational details and staffing needs.
  • Provide full transparency to clients in terms of costs, and back proposed pricing with market data.
  • Avoid conflicts of interest that can result in placing workers with a client, then “poaching” that worker to assign to another client.
  • Verify that all candidate screening has been thoroughly and successfully completed.
  • Take the lead in rapidly and successfully resolving any issues clients may have with workers on assignment. If necessary, be prepared to terminate and replace unsatisfactory workers.

The only way to sustain such a responsible program is to adopt written standards, review them periodically, impart ongoing training to all stakeholders, establish oversight and monitoring, audit for violations, and enforce through disciplinary measures. However, issues that come up in a real time work environment may not always find a ready solution. So, it falls to the leaders of the business to maintain good governance and transparency and high levels of ethical standards to stay on course and come up with suitable responses to any challenges faced.

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Lalita is a people/project manager with extensive experience in operations, HCM and training and development across industries like banking, education, business consulting, BPO and information technology. She believes in a dynamic approach to life and learning as change is the only constant.