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Holiday hiring tips to avoid lawsuits

BY CSA STAFF

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 pose undue hardship. During the hiring process, notify the applicant upfront regarding dates they may be scheduled or other requirements in order to help screen out potential problems before they arise.

Tip No. 6: Don’t overlook the importance of background checks. In general, it’s a good idea to do at least a criminal background check on all viable job applicants. Background screening firms will work with employers to comply with federal and state laws, and make recommendations as to the types of background checks necessary based upon the job’s requirements and duties. Remember that some of these temporary employees may become full-time staff, and communicating expectations is important.

Tip No. 7: Notify employees if surveillance cameras are watching. If surveillance cameras are on the property as part of a loss-prevention program or to heighten overall security, ensure that staff members are aware their actions may be caught on tape.

Tip No. 8: Know state laws about refusing to hire the unattractive. Many service- and sales-oriented businesses base their hiring practices largely on appearance — believing the outward appearance of their employees will positively affect their bottom line. While it’s still generally legal to hire those who “look the part,” a few states have local ordinances or regulations that forbid discrimination on certain characteristics such as height or weight.

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Walmart brings back $10 toys

BY CSA STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. Walmart announced that it is bringing back its $10 toys section in all stores and expanding its $10 holiday assortment this year to more than 100 toys.

According to the company, the $10 toys assortment is the first of several programs Walmart will announce this holiday season to bring 12 weeks of added savings in a year that has been increasingly tough on consumer wallets.

 

“With the popularity of our ’10 for $10′ toy program last October, we knew it was important for customers that we bring it back and offer an even greater amount of $10 toys this year,” said Laura Phillips, chief toy officer and VP toys for Walmart. “We began working months ago to ensure we could also introduce many toys at just $10 for this holiday program, as well as roll back prices at a time when our customers were ready to make purchases.”

 

Toys in the $10 assortment include Transformers Action Figures, board games and Play-Doh.

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ECRM names new VP general merchandise

BY CSA STAFF

CLEVELAND, Ohio ECRM has named Cheryl Gherlone VP general merchandise. Gherlone joined the ECRM team in June of 2009, assisting with various sales related responsibilities and researching potential new events. In her new position, Gherlone will work jointly with Paul Wendling of ECRM. This organizational change will become effective on Oct. 1.

Prior to joining ECRM, Gherlone held the position of marketing manager for Longs Drug Stores, with responsibility for general merchandise including stationery, electronics, housewares, hardware, automotive, soft goods as well as liquor & beverages.

 

“With such a solid background, Cheryl will be an exceptional complement to ECRM and the GM category. We look forward to her expertise to lead the advancement of this important category. Her leadership will strengthen our ability to improve existing GM shows and expand show offerings in 2010,” said Charlie Bowlus, CEO of ECRM.

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