So Meg Whitman today said that she didn’t blame Town & Country Resources, the Palo Alto temp agency that referred Nikki Diaz to her, for not catching her status as an undocumented worker, because Diaz had submitted the appropriate credentials.

We just received this email from someone who used to work at a San Francisco temp agency. The subject concerns the lack of thoroughness by referral agencies in checking contractors’ immigration status when money’s on the line. The email doesn’t speak to the specifics of Whitman’s Diaz hire or to any wrongdoing on Town & Country’s part, just to the general attitude of the industry on this issue:

I took a day job (a few years ago) with a temp agency, first as a receptionist, then as the person to fill job orders and hire workers to fill those orders.

The basic operation was to take anybody who applied – have them fill out paper work, provide documentation, and put them into the system. If someone was suspect or didn’t speak English that well we only tapped them when absolutely necessary, in a time crunch. But that pressure to fill a position is very strong. Every order that comes into a temp agency represents a lot of cash—leaving one unfilled was a big no. In one instance we knowingly hired folks we knew were in the country on expired Visas.

Town and Country is def. considered on the upper-scale of agencies. They deal with domestic workers, and seek people who specialize in that and are willing to make long term commitments to a family. I doubt that they would take the Whitman’s order lightly. The order would have brought in a lot of money –usually 10-20 percent of the hire’s hourly pay and a few thousand dollars if the hire went permanent.

I think if anything this story reveals a need stronger for a look at the current system of verifying employment, the e-verify system, etc.

Temp agencies and the undocumented 5 August,2014Jon Brooks

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor