Whether installing or fixing a hardwood floor, a subfloor or molding, whether making minor repairs, or attaching shoe molding, a nail gun is likely to be used. Do you require your installers to wear eye protection every time a nail gun is used? As a company in Alabama found out, it can be costly to ignore such protection. Specifically, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a serious citation against a framing contractor for allowing employees to use automatic nail guns without proper eye protection and fined the company $113,073.
Does your store offer discounted prices or sales claiming the price is “marked down” from the normal price? Do you advertise items are on sale at a percentage of the regular or standard price? Do you actually sell the items at the “normal” price? If not, you may face liability for deceptive pricing.
As many of you have read, immigration agents recently raided nearly 100 7-Eleven Stores with the intent to “send a strong message to U.S. businesses that hire and employ an illegal work force … [that they] will be held accountable.” In other words, immigration inspections and raids are on the rise targeting both large and small businesses.
According to the White House, federal agencies have withdrawn, made inactive, or delayed 1,579 planned regulatory actions since President Trump took office. While almost a third of these deregulatory actions were begun under prior Presidents and some will have little impact on businesses, the President and Congress has succeeded in undoing some major rules.
You have interviewed a number of candidates for a job at your store and want to offer one of them a position. To ensure that you offer a salary that will be attractive to the applicant, you ask, “What are you making at your current job?” Or maybe you ask for the applicant’s salary history on the job application form. Such questions may violate the law dependent on where you are located.
Over a year ago, in an issue of the Professional Flooring Dealer, we advised that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA does not just impact a dealer’s physical facilities, such as the need for wheelchair ramps, and enough room between aisles to allow customers to pass, but may also impact your company’s website. “Does My Website Violate the ADA?” Premier Flooring Dealer (May/June 2016).
According to a recent report, most workplace safety investigations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration against retailers are initiated by employee complaints rather than workplace accidents. The report also indicates that California and Pennsylvania are among the top states where inspections and citations occur.
With the stroke of a pen in July 2015, former Secretary of Labor Tom Perez issued an “Interpretation” of the test to determine if an individual is an employee or an independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The new interpretation determined that “most workers are employees.” Under this interpretation, independent flooring installers had to invest in their business beyond a truck and tools, had to show they had business skill not just technical skills, and could not work more than one or two jobs for a retailer or risk being classified as an employee.
Lowes recently paid $2.2 million to settled a class action lawsuit by job applicants who claimed the information contained in background checks run by the retailer violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Similarly, a class action was recently filed in California federal court against Robert Half International Inc.
Many states have scheduled increases in their minimum wage. Fourteen states have announced they will be raising their minimum wages the first of the year. A number of other states will adjust their rate annually based on the cost of living. In addition, some cities, counties, state governments, and companies have higher minimum wage rates than the state minimum.