Beauty Store Business

JUN 2017

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Page 65 of 75

64 June 2017 | Civil Rights Act In 1964, the U.S. Congress finally passed legislation that provided equal opportu- nity for everyone regardless of their age, gender, race, religion or national origin. It is probably the most far-reaching law affecting employment. Specifically, Title VII prohibits discrimination—in hiring, firing, promotions, job assignments, etc.— based on the demographic categories just mentioned. To ensure compliance, examine your hiring practices. For example, do you tend to only hire young, white females? If the answer is yes, then what does your labor market look like? If only 20 percent of your labor market is young, white females, but you're hiring them 100 percent of the time, you are probably in violation of the law. The same applies to promotions you make, when you give special assignments and even how you schedule coverage on the weekends. Keep in mind, discrimination does not have to be intentional to exist. If you have no inclination to be discriminatory but the result of your staffing practices is such, then you should re-evaluate some of the staffing decisions you're making. Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Emanating from Franklin D. Roosevelt's efforts to pull the country out of the Great Depression, the FLSA primarily impacts compensation. The national minimum wage was established with this act and is updated every few years. Also, this is the law that stipulates that employers must pay "time and a half" to employees who work over 40 hours in a week. Finally, if you employ someone under the age of 18, be aware that the law states that if the employee is 16 or 17, they cannot perform, or work with, anything of a hazardous nature (caustic cleaning supplies, being on a ladder, working on or around boilers, etc.). And if the employee is 14 to 15, he or she cannot work more than three hours on a school day and no more than 18 hours in a school week. Your state's minimum wage may be greater than the federal minimum, so make sure you are up-to-date with wages. Verify, too, that all work being performed is documented and paid. Having an employee clock out and then perform his or her closing procedures such as counting the cash drawer, cleaning and restocking is prohibited by this law. Americans with Disabilities Act In 1990, Congress recognized the impor- tance of assisting those with a disability to find and keep gainful employment. Though the courts are still, nearly 30 years later, defining what a "disability" is (for instance, being a drug addict is not a disability but alcoholism is), there are steps you can take to ensure compliance. First, you must understand what "reasonable accommodation" means. The law and the courts have permitted businesses to establish what a reason- able accommodation is for a disability without being too onerous on that firm. For example, it would not be reasonable accommodation for a blind person to be a police officer, but that same blind individual could be a customer service representative with a negligible outlay of funds to accommodate them with a brail keyboard and software. For you, with wider aisles you could hire someone in a wheelchair. Or, with some simple modifications, you could accommo- date someone with only one arm, and so on. There is no magic formula to determine what cost is "reasonable" and what is too cumbersome. However, many accommoda- tions can be made, which cost less than a day's or a week's sales—and this could be considered reasonable. Also, bear in mind that those with disabilities who are hired tend to stay longer with their employer than those who do not have a disability. Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) The FMLA is a critical law that enables employees to take time off work for family or medical reasons. Employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for these purposes. You are permitted to require that employees utilize any or all of their unused vacation time prior to the 12 weeks. Of course, employees need not take the leave consecutively—they can take a day here, a week there, another two days here, and so forth. Leaves must be approved by the man- ager and must be for qualifying reasons. For example, a leave request for time to care for a newborn infant would be approved, but taking a leave to watch a son play a sport would not. Recently, Congress amended the law to permit employees to meet a fam- ily member after returning from military deployment or seeing them off when they are initially deployed. For you, ensure that full-time employ- ees know that they are eligible for FMLA. Actually, the law requires that you post information about FMLA in employee areas. Also, make certain that you are consistent with approvals for requests for leaves. If you allow one employee a day off to attend a parent-teacher conference under FMLA, you must allow another employee the same privilege. Immigration Reform and Control Act This law, signed into effect by Ronald Reagan and a centerpiece of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, requires that employers hire either U.S. citizens or those who have immigrated to the country legally. Though amendments to this law may occur over the next few years, cur- rently, you as an employer have the burden of proving that your hiring practices fall within the parameters of the law. With every employee you hire, you must complete an I-9 form. This form captures basic information about a new hire as well as whether or not they are a U.S. citizen. Additionally, the form requires you to write down identification numbers of various documents the new hire pres- ents, which should establish their ability to legally work in your store. These might include a passport, driver's license or military ID. It's important to write these numbers down yourself on the I-9 and photocopy the documents, as it shows good faith in your efforts to ensure compliance. Even if you are currently doing this for all new hires, check the employee files to determine if you have this form completed for all your current employees. Pregnancy Discrimination Act Though employment discrimination against women was enacted with the passage of the Civil Rights Act, it did not spell out that women who are pregnant are also included. This law remedied that. Before you dismiss this as only applicable to manufacturing facilities, realize that any workplace is subject to OSHA compliance. Top: Westend61, Bottom: damircudic, istockphoto collection,

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