Atlanta Fisher & Phillips law firm released the following tips to avoid potential lawsuits when hiring temporary holiday help.
Tip No. 1: Be clear about the position from the outset. Job advertisements should state that the position is a temporary one, and employers should not guarantee a specific length of employment. In addition, communicate dress code requirements clearly as well as the dates and hours you expect the staff to be available to work. If you are hiring certain people to work on a holiday or at odd hours, you should say so up front.
Tip No. 2: Obey all break requirements and know the child labor issues. Even during the hectic holiday shopping days, retail employers must obey all overtime, meal and rest-period requirements for their nonexempt employees. In addition, many high school students start their first jobs in the retail industry. In-depth knowledge of the state’s child labor laws can safeguard employers against costly legal actions before they occur.
Tip No. 3: Properly classify employees. Most temporary holiday staff members won’t be exempt unless retailers are hiring management personnel. To be exempt from receiving overtime pay, meal periods and rest breaks, employees must meet certain wage requirements and fulfill certain duties. Simply paying an employee on a salary rather than hourly basis does not automatically make an employee “exempt.”
Tip No. 4: Ensure company handbook addresses compensation issues for those who work holidays. Employers are under no obligation to provide any additional compensation to employees who work on holidays such as Christmas Day or New Year’s Day. Company handbooks and other written policies should specify company expectations and communicate them clearly to employees. In fact, employers may implement handbooks and policies specifically for their temporary staff.
Tip No. 5: Be aware of necessary religious accommodations for staff. Some employees may not be available to work certain days due to their religious beliefs or require other accommodations in the workplace. Religious accommodations should be treated like disability or injury accommodations. Should the employer decide not to provide reasonable accommodation, the employer must show that it would