For many employers, the arrival of summer represents the time for hiring seasonal workers. But hiring temporary seasonal employees presents some substantial legal traps for the unwary. Employers should assess their seasonal hiring practices to ensure compliance with various state and federal laws. Here are some of the top pitfalls that employers should watch for when hiring seasonal workers. 

  • Verify that employees are legally permitted to work in the U.S.
  • Be aware of restrictions related to employment of minors
  • Take care when classifying a seasonal worker as an “independent contractor”
  • Determine whether you are required to pay overtime
  • Evaluate whether hiring seasonal employees triggers other legal obligations
  • Take care when hiring “unpaid interns” 

These are just a few of the issues employers of seasonal workers face. In addition, businesses should clearly inform seasonal employees that their employment is temporary. As always, employers should take care to hire the best seasonal candidates, apply and follow internal policies, and closely monitor their pay practices to ensure they are complying with state and federal laws for all employees. Employers that carefully assess their seasonal hiring practices can take great strides toward protecting themselves from liability.

This article appeared in the July 8, 2013 edition of the Bangor Daily News.