5 tips to avoid this summer’s legal hazards

Different seasons usher in different employment law risks. Employment law firm Fisher & Phillips offers this five-point to-do list to get ready for the coming summer months:

1. Plan ahead for vacation requests. Poorly managed, summer vacation requests can leave employers short-staffed.

Make sure your policy states that vacation requests must be made in advance, must be approved by management and may be denied.

2. Remind staff about your dress code. In summer, skirts get shorter and flip-flops become the footwear of choice. If you allow a more casual dress code, remind employees of where you draw the line.

Also appropriate for summer: A gentle reminder that your anti-harassment policy is still in effect.

3. Lessen liability when hiring seasonal workers. Seasonal and temp employees demand special hiring considerations. Example: Job ads should say the position is temporary. Don’t guarantee a specific length of employment.

4. Know the child labor laws. Employees under age 18 face limits on work hours and type of work. Find links to federal and state child labor regulations at www.dol.gov/dol/topic/youthlabor.

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 a doctor’s note for unexpected illnesses. Enforce it consistently.