Free Enterprise - The FindLaw Small Business Law Blog

3 Ways to Avoid Employment Violations on Black Friday

Just about every small business has some sort of Black Friday event or deal. From flash sales to door dashes to bargain bonanzas, there are myriad ways to take advantage of the nation's premier shopping holiday.

But with all this focus on consumers, make sure you don't forget about your biggest asset -- your employees. Here are three ways to take care of your employees on Black Friday.

Pay

As a general rule, private employers aren't required to give employees time off for the holidays, nor do they need to pay extra for working a holiday. And in any case, Black Friday isn't a national holiday for most people. Still, if you're not holding a special Black Friday event, you might consider giving some of your staff an extra long weekend.

If you are expecting a Black Friday sales boom, offering your employees a little extra for handling the bigger crowds might be a nice touch. At the very least, you still need to comply with federal, state, and local wage laws, which become important if you're opening early and/or closing late -- don't forget about overtime pay for your employees working an extra long day.

Safety, Part One

We write a lot about Black Friday injuries to customers during the rush to get into stores, over to items, and through the registers. But that rush might be just as dangerous for your employees as the customers. Make sure you anticipate a higher number of customers, have adequate crowd control measures in place for your shop or store, and avoid the ubiquitous Black Friday melee. (Also, customers in the throes of Black Friday madness aren't always on their best behavior when it comes to interacting with store staff -- make sure your employees are prepared for testy customer interactions, and that you can quickly and safely remove aggressive customers if need be.)

Safety, Part Two

Not only will you likely have more customers in the door, but more products as well. And you need to keep your employees safe from both. If you're adding more retail items into the same sales space, be mindful of and comply with OSHA and other workplace safety regulations

Your employees aren't just the face of your small business; they're often its lifeblood as well. So make sure you take care of and protect them this Black Friday.

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