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March 8, 2012

Headline News

Legal Watch

Trends and Research

ASA for You

Headline News


Korn/Ferry International Announces Third Quarter Fiscal 2012 Results of Operations
Korn/Ferry International News Release (03/07/12)

Korn/Ferry International’s net income in the third-quarter of fiscal year 2012, which ended Jan. 31, fell to $11.7 million, down from $13.9 million a year ago. The company’s year-to-date net income rose to $42.3 million, up from $38.5 million in fiscal year 2011. “We had a solid seasonal quarter despite an uneven economic recovery,” said chief executive Gary Burnison. “As the recovery carries forward, we will continue to drive our differentiated strategy and solutions to help our clients not only attract, but engage, develop, and retain the talent needed to effectively execute their business strategy.”

U.S. Initial Jobless Claims Rose 8,000 to 362,000
Bloomberg (03/08/12) Alex Kowalski

Jobless claims in the U.S. rose to the highest level in five weeks, climbing by 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 362,000, the U.S. Department of Labor reported today, a level consistent with an improving labor market. Economists forecast 352,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. The average over the past four weeks held close to a four-year low at 355,000.

Services Power Job Growth
Wall Street Journal (03/08/12) Neil Shah

U.S. companies added more workers to their payrolls in February than they did in January, according to Automatic Data Processing Inc., 170,000 of them in the services industry. A separate report by Intuit found that small companies with no more than 25 workers added 45,000 jobs in February, a 0.2% increase from January. In addition to the reports, there are other signs the economy is improving. The recovery in manufacturing and exports has spread to the services industry, and initial claims for unemployment insurance have fallen for four months.


Legal Watch


HR Issues Are a Hot Topic in State Legislatures
Business Management Daily (03/07/12)

The Society for Human Resource Management expects states to pass new employment laws while federal lawmakers concentrate on the upcoming election. Five states already have passed laws limiting the use of credit reports in hiring decisions, and more are expected to follow suit. Connecticut has passed legislation mandating paid sick leave, and other states likely will do the same. Meanwhile, more states could mandate the use of the E-Verify work authorization system, pass laws that prohibit discrimination against workers who are victims of domestic violence, and hold employers liable for instances of workplace bullying.

Court Confirms That Request for Additional Leave of an Unspecified Duration Is Not a Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA
Franczek Radelet (03/06/2012) Mark Wilkinson

In the case Valdez v. McGill, a warehouse supervisor took leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act for a surgery related to colon cancer, then after returning from the surgery, he took intermittent FMLA leave over the course of a year due to recurring health issues. He then presented a note from his doctor saying he could not work for two weeks, as his health issues had not changed, and when those two weeks were up, he presented another letter from his doctor saying that he “may return to work” in another three weeks. Noting that he had used up the 12 weeks of FMLA leave available and citing poor work performance and excessive absences, he was terminated. The worker filed suit against his employer for failing to make a reasonable accommodation for his disability under the federal Americans With Disabilities Act.

However, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says employers are not obligated to accommodate requests for leave of an indefinite duration, and the court confirmed this position. Thus, employees must communicate regularly with their employers and provide firm dates for when they will return to work. Even so, employers should be mindful of the interactive process under the ADA in which they must communicate with employees regarding a need for leave and make individualized assessments of these requests.

Can You Refuse to Hire a Felon?
JDSupra (03/05/2012)

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states that employers may be in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by refusing to hire people with criminal conviction records, unless a business necessity justifies such a practice. The EEOC says basing employment decisions on criminal conviction records puts African-Americans and Hispanics at a disadvantage because they are convicted at a rate that is disproportionately higher than their representation in the population. It defines “adverse impact discrimination” as a “substantially different rate of selection in hiring, promotion, or other employment decision which works to the disadvantage of members of a race, sex, or ethnic group.” To determine whether basing hiring decisions on criminal convictions is a business necessity, the EEOC says they must consider the nature and gravity of the offense, the time that has passed since the conviction or completion of the sentence, and the nature of the job.

Employers, especially in the hospitality industry, have been targeted by the EEOC’s systemic investigations as part of its E-RACE (Eradicating Racism and Colorism from Employment) initiative, which focuses on the use of arrest and conviction records in hiring practices. Experts say employers using criminal background checks should assess their current policies to ensure that the credit reporting agency they use complies with state laws and the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and that their policy makes the aforementioned considerations set forth by the EEOC regarding the applicant’s offense. Additionally, they should avoid implementing blanket policies in which no one with a criminal record is hired.


Trends and Research


Accountant Hiring Expected to Remain Steady in Q2
Accounting Today (03/07/12)

A survey of chief financial officers by Robert Half International reports that staffing levels in accounting and finance are anticipated to stay fairly steady in the second quarter. The company’s Financial Hiring Index found that 91% of the 1,400 CFOs surveyed said they expect to maintain their current personnel levels in the second quarter, up from 69% at the beginning of the year. Additionally, 4% of the CFOs polled said they plan to add employees, while 5% predict staff decreases.

The CFOs surveyed are increasingly optimistic about their businesses, with 91% expressing confidence in their companies’ growth prospects in the second quarter, up four points from the first-quarter survey. “As economic signs continue to improve incrementally in the U.S., companies are hiring skilled accounting and finance professionals at a steady rate to meet demand,” says Robert Half International chairman and chief executive officer Max Messmer. “Staff reductions are trending downward as businesses seek to avoid weakening their bench strength at a time when growth opportunities are emerging.”

Paying to Play: Hiring Demand for Video Game Developers Increases
Seattle Post-Intelligencer (03/07/12)

Over the past 60 days, recruiters have posted more than 1,100 online job ads for video game programmers and developers, a 40% increase over the past year and a 65% increase since 2010, according to Wanted Analytics. The most commonly advertised job titles include video gaming user specialist, software engineer, Flash developer, Web developer, and video game tester. The technology jobs typically require gaming knowledge; other jobs that increasingly require this knowledge include marketing managers, merchandise displayers, market research analysts, graphic designers, and retail salespersons. Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and San Jose, CA, were the cities with the highest volume of job listings for video game developers, but the best markets for recruiting people with these skills are Madison, WI; Denver; and Salt Lake City.

IT to Power Future Job Creation
Network World (03/07/12) Kenneth Corbin

A new report from the Technology CEO Council concludes that the companies that best leverage information technology will account for most new jobs and propel the next wave of economic growth. New technologies such as remotely managed computing infrastructure options and the increasing number of cloud applications have lowered the entry barriers for innovative young startups to compete in a global economy, according to the study from TCC. “It is a lot easier to start a business today than ever before,” says Dell chief executive Michael Dell, chairman of TCC.

The study found that small services firms with fewer than 100 workers that rely heavily on IT to run their business employed between 5% and 6% of all U.S. workers from 2002 to 2008, but accounted for 34% of the new jobs created over that time. The study’s authors noted that the few businesses that emerge as high-growth, transformative companies will leverage technology throughout their business operations, lowering the cost of back-office operations such as payroll and procurement, driving into new markets, and making better-informed, data-driven decisions.


ASA for You


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Staffing and recruiting professionals have to understand social media to stay competitive. Learn trends and ideas for your firm’s Web presence Tuesday, March 13, 3–4 p.m. Eastern time, during the ASAPro Webinar “Social Media Marketing Must-Do Trends—Stay Ahead of Your Competition.”

Jennifer Abernethy, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Social Media Marketing, will teach you what needs to be on your Web site, what your firm should be doing on Facebook and LinkedIn, and more.

ASAPro Webinars are free for ASA members ($295 for nonmembers) and qualify for continuing education hours toward ASA certification renewal. Register online at americanstaffing.net.
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