Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Are Temporary Employees, Employees?

Nick's Brick Oven Pizza, Inc. v. Excelsior Ins. Co.
877 N.Y.S.2d 359, (2d Dept., April 07, 2009)

In this Second Department case, the Court was presented with the question whether the policy covered a tortious act that was committed by an insured employee, where the policy excluded from the definition of employee, temporary employees who were “furnished to [the insured] to substitute for a permanent ‘employee’ on leave or to meet seasonal or short-term workload conditions.”

The court found that the employee was a temporary employee because he “was hired to meet seasonal …conditions during the …summer …” In doing so, it rejected the carrier’s claim that the employee was not a “temporary employee” because he was not “furnished” by a employment agency, but was merely referred by another employee of Nick’s Pizza. The Court rejected the argument, finding that the term “furnished” was ambiguous with any ambiguities being resolved in favor of the assured. (See Lee v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., 32 A.D.3d 902, 822 N.Y.S.2d 559).

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