Complying with Federal Laws When Hiring Teen Employees

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Human Resource & Payroll Services And Solutions - Houston, Dallas, Austin - Texas www.hrp.net. Does your business employ teenagers in the summer? Young workers are a valuable asset to many employers at this time of year. If you're among them, make sure your organization is in compliance with federal and state laws. Government agencies have websites to inform youth workers of their rights. Here's a look at the applicable laws.

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Complying with Federal Laws When Hiring Teen Employees

  1. 1. Toll Free: 877.880.4477 Phone: 281.880.6525 www.hrp.net Complying with Federal Laws When Hiring Teen Employees
  2. 2. Summer means teenage employment will rise at many workplaces. More working teenagers means an increase in potential risks for employers...including the risk of harassment and other illegal treatment. www.hrp.net » The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) all have websites to actively inform teenagers of their rights: If your organization employs teenagers, don't cut corners when complying with federal and state employee-protection laws just because the employees are young.
  3. 3. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) all have websites to actively inform teenagers of their rights: www.hrp.net » • The DOL's "Youth Rules" website tells teenagers: "Before you start working, you should know what your employer can and cannot require of you. As a young worker you are limited in the types of jobs and number of hours you can work.“ See right-hand box for the federal employment provisions involving hours and jobs that some teenagers are prohibited from holding. • OSHA describes actual cases in which teenagers were injured or killed at work on its website "Young Workers You Have Rights!“ • The EEOC's "Youth at Work," website gives examples of illegal behavior and tells teens how to file complaints against employers. The "Welcome" on the EEOC site states: "This website is designed to teach you about some of your rights and responsibilities as an employee.... learn about different types of discrimination affecting young workers and what you can do to help prevent discrimination in the workplace."
  4. 4. Employment Discrimination and Harassment The EEOC tells teenagers they are protected against employment discrimination when it involves: » www.hrp.net • Unfair treatment because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or disability. • Harassment by managers, co-workers, or others in the workplace because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or disability. • Denial of a reasonable workplace change that an employee needs because of his or her religious beliefs or disability. • Retaliation because an employee complains about job discrimination, or assists with a job discrimination investigation or lawsuit. Smart moves : Employers should inform and train managers, supervisors and team leaders about employee rights and the responsibilities leaders have to assure the rights are protected. Ask supervisors to read the information on the EEOC, DOL and OSHA websites pertaining to youth workers. »
  5. 5. www.hrp.net • Encourage open, positive and respectful interactions with young employees. • Remember that awareness, through early education and communication, is the key to prevention. • Establish a strong corporate policy for handling complaints. • Provide alternate avenues to report complaints and identify appropriate staff to contact. • Encourage young employees to come forward with concerns and protect staff members who report problems or otherwise participate in investigations from retaliation. • Post company policies on discrimination and complaint processing in visible locations, such as near the time clock or break area, or include the information in young employees' first paychecks. • Clearly communicate, update, and reinforce discrimination policies and procedures in a language and manner young staff members can understand. • Provide early training to managers and employees, especially front-line supervisors. • Consider hosting an information seminar for parents or guardians of teens working for the organization. In addition, consider these tips from the EEOC to help promote voluntary compliance and prevent harassment and discrimination cases:
  6. 6. The federal government is reaching out to teenage workers online to help ensure they receive proper wages, stay safe on the job, and are not the victims of illegal treatment. Many youth workers are eager to gain experience and job skills at summer jobs. They can be an enthusiastic addition to your team. But you must comply with relevant federal and state rules and ensure young workers get adequate training in safe practices. www.hrp.net » Learn how to communicate with teenagers. Encourage them to ask questions about procedures that are unclear and to report situations that are unsafe. As OSHA advises employers: "Remember that young workers are not just 'little adults.'" »
  7. 7. Court: Unpaid Internships Violated Labor Laws A federal court recently ruled that a movie studio violated federal and state wage laws by not paying interns. » www.hrp.net Facts of the new case: Unpaid interns worked for Fox Searchlight Pictures on the popular 2010 film "Black Swan," starring Natalie Portman. Later, the interns filed a lawsuit claiming the company violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and state wage laws by not paying them. The lawsuit sought payment for wages, overtime, expenses and more. » The interns built sets and performed administrative and accounting functions. The court noted that it was "work that otherwise would have been done by a paid employee." »
  8. 8. On June 11, 2013, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled the interns were employees and were covered by federal and state wage laws. (Glatt and Footman, et al. v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc., No. 1:11-cv-06784, U.S. Dist. Ct., SDNY) www.hrp.net » In the wake of the decision, employment law experts predict a surge of lawsuits from former interns who were paid little or nothing for their work. If your organization could be affected, consult with your HR department and attorney about how to proceed. »
  9. 9. The risks of managing and supervising teenage employees don't just involve illegal harassment. Some employers break the law by not paying young employees proper wages or overtime. Some employers ask young people to work longer hours in a day or a week than laws regulating teen work hours permit. In addition, teens may be illegally exposed to workplace hazards. Here is a rundown of some of the federal rules employers must comply with: www.hrp.net » Hours - Fourteen and 15-year-olds are limited in the hours they can work and the jobs they can do. For example, when school is in session, youths cannot work past 7 p.m. When school is not in session, those under age 16 cannot work more than 8 hours a day or more than 40 hours a week. At 16 and 17, teens may work unlimited hours. »
  10. 10. Pay - Although some exceptions may apply, in most circumstances teens  must be paid the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. (Tipped  employees can be paid $2.13 per hour if the wages and tips equal the  applicable minimum wage.) If a worker is younger than 20 and eligible for the minimum wage, an  employer may pay him or her as little as $4.25 per hour for the first 90  consecutive calendar days of employment. This is not limited to the teen's  first employer. Each time a teen changes jobs, a new employer can pay the  youth minimum wage. www.hrp.net » Safety standards - It is a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act for teens under  age 18 to perform certain jobs (such as roofing and coal mining) or use dangerous  equipment at work (such as slicers, dough mixers, box crushers, trash compactors  and paper balers). »
  11. 11. In addition, employees age 16 and under cannot drive on public roads as  part of their jobs, even if they have a valid driver's license. Employees age 17  can drive on public roads as part of their jobs only in limited circumstances.  For example, they can only drive during daylight hours, the vehicle cannot  exceed 6,000 pounds of gross vehicle weight, and the driving must be  occasional and incidental to the 17-year-old worker's employment. www.hrp.net » Federal law also prohibits workers under the age of 18 from serving alcohol  in a restaurant. There are different rules for 14 and 15-year-olds working in agriculture and  states also have their own rules. Employers must comply with both.  Click here for a description of rules in your state.
  12. 12. 14550 Torrey Chase Blvd., Ste. 360 Houston, TX 77014 USA www.hrp.net  E-mail   : info@hrp.net Toll Free Phone Fax  : : : 877.880.4477 281.880.6525 281.866.9426

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