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Kforce to Sell Clinical Research Business

Kforce Inc. News Release (03/19/12)

Kforce Inc. has agreed to sell its clinical research business to inVentiv Health Inc. for $50 million in cash in an effort to focus on its core service offerings. The provider of professional staffing services expects to close the deal before the month ends and plans to use the proceeds to reduce debt. “As a result of an extensive review of our business and the changing landscape in the pharmaceutical industry, we have decided to sell our clinical research business,” says chairman and chief executive David Dunkel. Kforce predicts strong demand in its technology and finance and accounting businesses to continue and should replace the lost revenue from Kforce Clinical Research Inc. over the next 12 months.

ManpowerGroup Named One of World’s Most Ethical Companies

ManpowerGroup News Release (03/16/12)

ManpowerGroup has been named to the Ethisphere Institute’s 2012 World’s Most Ethical Companies list for its commitment to ethical leadership, compliance, corporate social responsibility, and business practices at large. This marks the second consecutive year that ManpowerGroup has been named to the list.

Book Your Staffing Law Conference Hotel Room by Friday

The hotel room block at the Westin City Center Hotel—the location for the 2012 ASA Staffing Law Conference, April 17–18, Washington, DC—has sold out. However, ASA has secured a block of rooms at the Hotel Helix, which is about a 10-minute walk from the Westin. The exact distance between the hotels is 0.3 miles.

Make reservations by calling the Hotel Helix at 800-706-1202 and asking for the 2012 ASA Staffing Law Conference group rate. The group room rate, available until March 23, is $259 (plus tax) per night for single or double occupancy (includes complimentary Internet access), and is subject to room availability.

After March 23, reservations may be accepted at the hotel’s prevailing rate, space permitting. Check-in starts at 3 p.m.; check-out is 12 noon. For more information about the 2012 ASA Staffing Law Conference, visit americanstaffing.net.

Get More Visibility for Your Company’s Success

ASA provides members with two ways to publicize company news and press releases about new hires, promotions, mergers and acquisitions, new lines of business, industry recognitions, and more—the Member News page on the ASA Web site and the Staffing Community section of Staffing Success magazine.

Send press releases to Melissa Beattie, ASA public relations coordinator, at staffingnews@americanstaffing.net.

Maryland Legislation Targets Employer Bias Against Unemployed

Baltimore Sun (03/18/12) Eileen Ambrose

Maryland has joined a growing number of states considering legislation to prevent employers from discriminating against the unemployed. Maryland employment experts say that most employers want only to hire the best candidates, regardless of how long they have been out of work, and new legislation is not needed. Just how many people have their unemployment status held against them is not known. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says jobless workers are not a protected class, so the agency does not track such complaints.

Maryland’s legislation would add “employment status” to the list of criteria—such as race, age, and religion—that employers cannot use to discriminate against workers. A hearing on the bill is scheduled for March 20. The Maryland Chamber of Commerce opposes the bill and says that while “[e]mployment status is not a factor in the hiring process…job skills are a legitimate factor to evaluate a candidate for employment.”

‘Illegal’ Job Interview Questions?

Greenberg Traurig LLP (03/14/12) Jay P. Lechner

Although it is not necessarily illegal for employers to ask job candidates interview questions touching upon race, sex, religion, marital status, and age, experts say they should avoid questions relating to protected class status or private matters not related to the job to prevent claims of discrimination. However, federal law prohibits employers from asking certain questions. For instance, they cannot ask about the existence, nature, or severity of a disability; family medical history or other genetic information; or former union membership or union preference.

The Employment Authorization Question: Ask, But Ask Carefully

Foley & Lardner LLP (03/12/12) Anita M. Sorenson

To help ensure hiring of a legal work force, companies typically ask job applicants about work authorization early in the application process. Asking about work authorization on the employment application, instead of during an interview, ensures that the question is asked of each applicant in the same manner. The question must also be asked using the proper language and focus. If the question is not asked properly, companies may run into trouble with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel or with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Applicants should not be asked about their immigration, visa, or citizenship status. They also should not be asked to provide proof of work authorization during the application process. An appropriate question would be: Are you authorized to work lawfully in the U.S. for [insert company name]?

Health Complaint Filed Against Asbestos Removal Company

Baltimore Sun (03/16/12) Yvonne Wenger

The Public Justice Center has filed a complaint with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration against WMS Solutions LLC, a staffing firm that provides workers to contractors and subcontractors in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, for failing to properly protect workers from asbestos. The complaint says workers are required to pay for medical exams, training, and protective equipment, all of which are required by OSHA to be provided by the employer. Workers who did not pay for these in advance saw the costs deducted from their paychecks.

The complaint, which names around 10 contractors and subcontractors, also states that workers at two sites had to wash and reuse respirator filters while other workers were given new filters twice per week. Moreover, WMS and the subcontractors are accused of not providing shower facilities for decontamination purposes and for misleading government inspectors with showers not connected to a water source. One employee of WMS says he was terminated after six years of employment for complaining about working conditions to OSHA. Legislation being considered by Maryland lawmakers would enhance protections for workers handling asbestos and hike penalties for companies violating environmental laws.

Temporary Jobs a Timely Solution for Picky Employers and Job Hunters

Cherry Hill Courier Post (03/18/12)

A boomlet in hiring for temporary jobs is under way, as employers try out workers before they offer a permanent position. “Companies are using [temporary employees] as an interim solution because they want to make certain there’s enough work to justify the position—and that the employee is the perfect fit for the job,” says Wendy Brooks, founder of Brooks Personnel in Voorhees, NJ, where demand for medical office workers has doubled since December. Brooks says as many as 90% of the positions she is filling could turn into permanent jobs. Nationally, the conversion rate is about 50%, according to the American Staffing Association.

At Cherry Hill, NJ-based Accu Staffing Services, demand is strong for both short-term projects and open-ended assignments. “Companies are using us for project-based work that might last eight or nine weeks,” says Elaine Damm, vice president. “We are anticipating continued growth for the rest of the year,” says Damm. “We are feeling good about our ability to help people who are happy to have a job and are hoping to grow.”

J&J Staffing in Cherry Hill recently placed temporary-to-hire workers in clerical, sales, customer service, and tech positions. Ginny Schramm, the regional manager, is confident the matches will stick.
“Training is expensive,” she says. “So if a person works out, the company is likely to stay with that person.”

Factories Are Building Job Recovery in Area

Times Herald (Michigan) (03/17/12) Holly Setter

Thirteen manufacturers in St. Clair County, MI, part of the metro Detroit area, expanded their operations in 2011, adding more than 500 new jobs. Between 2009 and 2011, manufacturers added 12,800 new jobs in the Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills metro region, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Manufacturing hiring may be even stronger than the statistics reflect, because some manufacturers do their hiring through temporary staffing companies.