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Follow Santa’s Checklist for Avoiding Holiday Hiring Headaches

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Recent good tidings of a strong holiday shopping season have retailers scrambling to boost their sales teams.

The National Retail Federation predicts holiday sales of up to $730.7 billion in November and December 2019, which would be a 4.2% increase from 2018. In response, retailers plan to add almost 600,000 seasonal workers.

But in the mad dash to hire so many people so fast, it’s tempting to let due diligence fall by the wayside and open yourself up to costly mistakes that could hurt your company big time. 

Address these critical issues right upfront to prevent a bigger holiday sales hangover down the road.

Avoid Negligent Hiring and Theft

Suppose a temporary salesperson assaults a customer. Then let’s say the ensuing investigation reveals a history of violent behavior on the part of the temp worker. 

A proper background check would have caught this, but you skipped it to save time in the rush to hire your seasonal sales force. Uh-oh. Now you’re looking at a negligent hiring lawsuit.

Seasonal hiring often attracts applicants with questionable backgrounds. Once they come aboard, the frantic holiday shopping environment makes it easier for them to cause harm while going undetected until it’s too late. 

In addition to a risk of violent incidents like the example described above, a lack of due diligence opens you and your customers up to theft. 

Employers lost $46.8 billion to theft, fraud and similar causes in 2017. Internal theft by employees accounted for ⅓ of this retail shrinkage.

Don’t Ignore Employment Regulations

As with all new hires, you must follow the same employment laws for seasonal hires as you do for permanent employees.

  • Some jurisdictions have enacted Ban the Box laws, which forbid you to ask about criminal history or run a background check until AFTER you’ve made a conditional offer of employment. 
  • The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires you to obtain a candidate’s permission to run a credit report.
  • What if the background check turns up a problem? The candidate has a right to receive a copy of their background report, and they have the right to challenge the accuracy of the report. If you elect not to hire them because of information in the background report, the candidate then has 60 days to dispute the findings. 
  • Clarify the temporary nature of the job in all recruitment materials. Once you hire a seasonal worker, make them sign an acknowledgment of the “at will” nature of their employment. 
  • Pay attention to worker hours. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires most employees to receive 1.5 times the regular rate if they work more than 40 hours in a week. However, many seasonal employees are exempt from this requirement. Review your holiday workers’ status under federal and state laws to determine whether they are exempt. 
  • If a seasonal employee works more than 30 hours a week for more than 120 days, you must offer them health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. 
  • All regulations pertaining to discrimination, harassment and retaliation apply equally to all employees — whether they are seasonal or not. Educate temporary workers about their rights and responsibilities under these laws, and address allegations promptly.  

How can retailers clear all of these hurdles while also getting the right people in place before Black Friday strikes?

Hire Well Now offers 24-7 access to an integrated suite of recruitment solutions, backed by a dedicated team of Recruiting Specialists. Contact us right away to bring a little sanity back to your seasonal hiring process.

Jonathan Bergman

Jonathan Bergman

CEO of Hire Well Now, leads a team of dedicated, knowledgable and relentless recruiters and hiring experts that focus on Faster Hiring and Longer Retention for clients across the United States.

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