Today’s post comes from guest author Jon Gelman of Jon Gelman, LLC – Attorney at Law in New Jersey. Although the post was first published last year, it has some very timely reminders and tips in it as workers are exploring seasonal employment options for this year. As this blog post explains, many local and national businesses hire workers specifically for the upcoming holidays. Because businesses expect more in holiday sales locally this year, they also anticipate hiring more seasonal workers. In fact, Kohl’s has already determined the number of workers the business plans to hire nationwide to help with the holiday season. But Mr. Gelman reminds potential employees to consider possible challenges with becoming a seasonal worker.
Seasonal employment can provide welcome income during the holidays, but it can bring dangerous working conditions along with it.
This holiday season, more than in the past, there will be a serious challenge to workers who are taking on temporary jobs. As the economy continues to be in the ditch, more people are being hired for jobs for which they are untrained and unfamiliar. Injuries will result.
Temporary employees who are injured at work are not accustomed to the procedural requirements to give their employers notice of the injury, and the correct manner and method to seek approved medical treatment. Additionally, benefits paid to seasonal workers are notoriously low and paid sporadically so the computation of rate benefits becomes an issue.
As Eve Tahmincioglu pointed out in anticipation of last year’s holiday season, “employees who end up in retail stores often face grueling conditions during the holidays because that’s when most retailers make their biggest profits of the year.” Case in point, in 2008, a seasonal worker at Walmart was crushed to death by a crowd of Black Friday shoppers.
In 2011 OSHA posted a crowd control fact sheet on its website warning stores to keep an eye on safety during the holiday season. Despite measures like this, seasonal workers with little experience are often asked to operate scanning equipment, forklifts, and other large pieces of machinery, or to lift heavy items. There are going to be accidents.