Summer’s Here – Watch Out for Minors

Kegler Brown E-mployment Alert

It’s near summer, when a lot of employers try to help out school- or college-aged children with jobs. If you’re one of these hardy employers, remember that minors aren’t like adult employees, and that you need to pay special attention to some unique issues.

First, of course, are the child-labor laws. Both federal and state laws regulate both the hours that minors can work, as well as the types of jobs they can perform. Be sure you are in compliance.

Second, pay special attention to the risks of sexual harassment. Many companies, from fast food restaurants to movie theaters to more traditional workplaces, have recently been hit with large lawsuits for sexual harassment involving college students and teenagers (both male and female). Most of these cases arise from sexual touching, comments, and sexual conduct by supervisors. The workplace is not akin to a college campus or campus bar, even if the new workers are college students. In addition, since 2004 the EEOC has been conducting outreach programs in schools to teach teenagers about their rights in the workplace.

Be careful, because mistakes in these areas can be very costly.