Companies operating with lean staffs can find it challenging to grant vacation requests. Skimpy summer fashion could prompt sexual harassment claims. For many industries—hospitality and entertainment, for example—summer means hiring part-time teenage employees.
What should employers do now so they’re ready to be productive this summer and ensure they’re complying with employment-related laws?
Fisher & Phillips offers this five-point employment-law to-do list for summer:firm
1. Plan ahead for vacation requests
Poorly managed, summer vacation requests can leave employers short-staffed.
To avoid problems, make sure your employee handbook and vacation policy clearly state that all vacation requests must be made in advance, must be approved byand may be denied if granting the request would create a hardship on the company.
2. Prevent harassment in the hot summer sun
In the summer months, skirts often get shorter, tops get tighter and more revealing, and flip-flops become the footwear of choice. If you’re considering a relaxed summer dress code, anticipate the possibility that revealing attire might generate inappropriate comments and behavior from workplace jerks.
Remind employees of your anti-harassment policy and other employee conduct rules. And consistently enforce your dress and grooming policies.
3. Lessen liability when hiring seasonal workers
Seasonal and temp employees demand special hiring considerations. Bungle the hiring process, and you could find yourself on the receiving end of a lawsuit summons. For example, job advertisements should state that the position is a temporary one. Don’t guarantee a specific length of employment. In addition, if you’re hiring people to work on a holiday or odd hours, you should say so up front.
4. Know child labor issues
Hiring workers under the age of 18 means complying with strict child-labor laws. There are limitations on work hours or the number of hours worked within a specific time period. Some hazardous jobs are off-limits to underage workers. Check your state’s particular laws—and consult an attorney if you have questions about hours and working conditions.
5. Prepare for summer ‘sick’ days
Strange how many employees don’t feel well on the prettiest of days. To prevent the “summer flu,” reinforce your policy requiring employees to provide doctors' notes for unexpected illnesses. Be sure to enforce it in a consistent manner.