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Randstad: Strong Growth in North America, Gradual Slowdown in Europe

Randstad News Release (02/16/12)

Randstad Holding NV has reported a loss for the fourth quarter as it wrote down the value of recent acquisitions. The company says the U.S. job market is improving, but Europe is worsening. The company made a net loss of €16.5 million ($21.5 million), largely due to €180 million in charges and writedowns on the value of acquisitions it has made in the past five years. Sales increased 13% to €4.38 billion.

“The patterns in our markets are clearly diverging from previous recoveries,” says Ben Noteboom, chief executive officer of Randstad. “The North American market is getting more robust, while the European markets are gradually slowing down.” He adds that the company “will continue to develop our specialty and professionals businesses and accelerate growth in permanent placements. We believe we are well positioned to grasp the opportunities in 2012.”

U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Drop 13,000 to 348,000

MarketWatch (02/16/12) Jeffrey Bartash

Claims for jobless benefits expectedly dropped last week to the lowest level in four years, showing the U.S. job market is on the mend. Weekly jobless claims in the U.S. fell by 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 348,000 in the week ended Feb. 11, the U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch estimated claims would total 368,000. The four-week average of claims fell by a smaller 1,750 to 365,250, keeping it near a four-year low.

What Makes a National Staffing Employee of the Year?

In the current issue of Staffing Success magazine, meet interactive Web designer Chris Hoover—the 2012 National Staffing Employee of the Year. He discusses how his two years of impressive work as a contract employee with ASA member the BOSS Group provided the bridge he needed to land his full-time job as JCPenney’s senior interactive Web designer. Hoover joins a prestigious list of temporary and contract employees who have earned recognition as National Staffing Employee of the Year.

Have you worked with a similarly stellar temporary or contract employee in the past year? The National Staffing Employee of the Year is an honoree whose story best captures the staffing industry’s key messages—jobs, flexibility, bridge, choice, and training.

Start planning who your staffing firm will nominate to be the 2013 National Staffing Employee of the Year. In addition to being featured in an upcoming Staffing Success cover story, the honoree will receive deluxe travel accommodations to Staffing World® 2012 in Las Vegas, a travel gift certificate, and recognition during National Staffing Employee Week, Sept. 10–16 this year. All nominations must be received by Aug. 1.

To learn more about the National Staffing Employee of the Year program, as well as National Staffing Employee Week, visit The National Staffing Employee of the Year program is sponsored by ASA corporate partner First Staff Benefits.

Highlight Your Commitment to Ethical Practices

Create effective proposals with help from ASA—member firms have access to free marketing tools to help you grow your business. Enhance your proposals by incorporating information about the ASA Code of Ethics and Good Practices. ASA membership tells clients that you adhere to a code of ethics and are committed to legal and professional practices—research shows that staffing clients associate ASA membership with a higher level of professionalism. Download a fact sheet about the ASA Code of Ethics and Good Practices to include with your proposals.

The ASA marketing tool kit is available at

Lawmakers Finalize Payroll-Tax Agreement

Wall Street Journal (02/16/12) Naftali Bendavid; Siobhan Hughes

Congressional negotiators working on a deal to extend jobless benefits and a payroll-tax cut say they have finalized an agreement, paving the way for a vote before the policies expire at the end of the month. House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) and Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), the two top lawmakers on the panel tasked with finding agreement, announced the deal just before 1 a.m., indicating that Congress will send a bill to President Barack Obama’s desk by week’s end.

From the Experts: Hiring Practices Can Be an Antitrust Violation?

Corporate Counsel (02/15/12) David Stanoch; Carolyn Budzinski

Lawsuits filed by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2010 against high-tech companies and a related private class action lawsuit filed in 2011 highlight that antitrust laws apply not only to products and services but also to employers’ hiring practices. Noncompete agreements between employers and employees have not been deemed anticompetitive, but the DOJ investigations take issue with agreements between competing employers that hinder competition and restrict employees’ access to better job opportunities.

A lawsuit filed by DOJ against Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit, and Pixar challenged agreements that prevent them from contacting employees of another company unless the employee applied for a job opening. A separate lawsuit filed against Lucasfilm Ltd. centered on an agreement with Pixar that ensured the current employer would be notified of job offers to employees by the other firm and prevented either firm from counteroffering above the initial offer.

Experts say these lawsuits highlight the need for companies to consider how antitrust laws affect hiring practices. They should consider whether their employment practices involve agreements with competitors; whether their practices limit current or former employees’ mobility or salary, among other things; and the positions of their board members and officers outside the company.

Age Discrimination Suits Jump, But Wins Are Elusive

NPR Morning Edition (02/16/12) Yuki Noguchi

People 55 or older generally take three months longer to find a new job than does the average person looking for a job, and given the tight job market, age discrimination complaints are increasing—but becoming more difficult to win. Gross v. FBL Financial Services Inc. has a lot to do with that, employment law experts say. That case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court; the majority ruled that a plaintiff must prove, with a preponderance of evidence, that age was the reason for discrimination. Essentially, Gross v. FBL increased the burden of proof for age discrimination suits. Since the ruling, hundreds of other cases have been thrown out.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says age discrimination is a growing problem. According to Stuart Ishimaru, an EEOC commissioner, “The number of formal complaints that come in to us understate the nature of the problem.” Ishimaru says hiring has been “a real conundrum for us. And frankly in this economy, where people are looking for jobs, they don’t have time to worry about a discrimination suit. They’re not going to be thinking about this.”

EEOC Extends Employer Recordkeeping Requirements to GINA

Mondaq (02/15/12) Stephanie Aranyos

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently published its final rule extending the recordkeeping requirements imposed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act to employers covered by Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. This rule will take effect on April 3, 2012.

Title II of GINA prohibits the use of genetic information in making employment decisions, restricts acquisition of genetic information by covered employers and entities, and strictly limits the disclosure of genetic information. GINA covers employers with 15 or more employees, employment firms, and federal sector employers.

The EEOC’s final rule imposes the same record retention requirements mandated under Title VII and the ADA to GINA. Employers must retain all employment and personnel records for one year from the date created or the date the personnel action was taken, whichever is later. All records relating to a charge filed under GINA must be maintained until final disposition of the charge.

Agency Makes New Push to Help Pregnant Workers

Wall Street Journal (02/16/12) Melanie Trottman

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is working to improve workplace-discrimination protections for pregnant women and people caring for relatives, following complaints by employees who say they have been fired or treated poorly due to their status. The EEOC plans to give companies new guidance to make clear that the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act prevents companies from firing, refusing to hire, or otherwise discriminating against a worker because she is pregnant. Meanwhile, the Americans With Disabilities Act contains provisions that could require companies to offer more accommodations to pregnant women.

Another option the agency could take is a tougher litigation strategy against employers, says EEOC general counsel P. David Lopez. The EEOC has filed 268 lawsuits alleging pregnancy discrimination over the past decade; 216 suits have been resolved, and plaintiffs have been awarded more than $42 million.

Job Ads for Recruiters Bounce Back in January

Wanted Analytics (02/15/12) Abby Lombardi

Wanted Analytics says job ads for staffing professionals jumped 26% in January from the same month last year. Experts believe an increase in demand for recruiters could indicate that companies are planning to hire more workers. Of these job ads, 55% were placed by direct employers and 45% by staffing firms. The most ads for recruiting positions were placed by, Insight Global Inc., PDS Technical Services, Microsoft, and Capital One. The metropolitan areas with the highest volume of ads for recruiter jobs are New York, Washington, DC, Chicago, Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta, and Houston.

Wanted Analytics says recruiter positions will be moderately hard to fill. The average duration of a job ad is five weeks nationally, with Seattle recording an average of six weeks. The easiest places to find recruiters are Davenport, IA; Fort Wayne, IN; Springfield, MO; York, PA; and Omaha, NE, which also are areas where recruiters will find it difficult to obtain employment.

Agencies Struggle to Hire Cyber Professionals (02/15/12) Brittany Ballenstedt

According to a survey of 545 federal cybersecurity professionals by (ISC)2, 97% are currently employed, 62% received a salary increase last year, and 48% anticipate a pay raise this year. The survey indicates that 60% of federal cybersecurity pros changed jobs in 2011, and 43% cited pursuit of advancement opportunities as the reason.

However, 83% of federal hiring managers said it is “extremely difficult” to identify and hire qualified candidates, with 42% indicating that the process took one to three months and 33% saying it took six or more months. Of these hiring managers, 68% are seeking candidates with certification and accreditation, 55% want those with operations security skills, and 53% want candidates with experience in telecommunications and network security. In terms of recruitment, the U.S. Cyber Corps program, efforts on college campuses, and job fairs were not viewed as very effective. However, 50% of hiring managers said referrals from colleagues were effective, while 33% cited online Web sites and 10% networking.