Seasonal hiring requires thoughtful decisions to avoid legal pitfalls.

Seasonal hiring requires thoughtful decisions to avoid legal pitfalls.

Today, I’m pleased to offer a seasonal and timely guest post by Greenberg Traurig attorney Mona Mehta Stone. Of Counsel with the firm, she is a labor and employment attorney. You may have clients or colleagues who would benefit from the information; please feel free to share it and pass it on. To reach the author, email her at stonem@gtlaw.com.

Arizona employers are once again turning to seasonal workers to assist with increased work demands that occur this time of year. According to the American Staffing Association (the “ASA”), there were approximately 213,003 staffing jobs in Arizona in 2014, with the workforce being comprised of 45 percent females and 55 percent males. The 25–44 years of age demographic made up 49 percent of the worker profile.

The reliance on seasonal employees is expected to continue rising. Whether due to increased retail and hospitality needs, industry fluctuations, or coverage for absent or ill employees, employers should keep in mind a few best practices to consider when hiring seasonal workers this year:

  • In order to avoid unfair treatment of job applicants and seasonal employees, coordinate and centralize all hiring decisions in your company for consistency.
  • Ensure that all job postings indicate the short-term, seasonal nature of the position, and reiterate that message during interviews and upon hiring.
  • Do not guarantee benefits that are only available to permanent employees (e.g., paid vacation time or retirement benefits), and specify the wage rate, pay period, pay date, and expected length of employment to seasonal workers.
  • Mona Mehta Stone

    Mona Mehta Stone

    Carefully consider how to contract for temporary staff, including respective responsibilities that the employer and staffing agency will retain. The worker’s seasonal status must be clearly defined, as well the potential for an employer-employee relationship being created directly between the employer and seasonal employee.

  • Whether working with a staffing agency or hiring seasonal workers independently, recognize that these employees may count toward employee numbers required under certain state and federal employment laws (e.g., EEOC, WARN, ADEA, ADA).
  • Train seasonal workers on all workplace policies and rules, including discrimination and harassment.
  • Understand what state and federal tax laws apply to seasonal employees.
  • Monitor hours, expenses, and employee performance associated with seasonal workers. Failure to do so may not reveal hidden costs, including potential legal, financial and security exposure and liability.
  • Treat seasonal employees with the same respect and guidance as you would for your permanent workforce.
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