Every year on Black Friday we hear stories about the insanity experienced by shoppers. What we don’t often hear about is what those working in retail face as they prepare for, and manage, the onslaught of customers.
With Black Friday just around the corner, here is what you need to know about your rights when working on the busiest shopping day of the year.
Is Working on Black Friday Really Dangerous?
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), working on Black Friday can be hazardous. In 2008, one retail worker was trampled to death by a crowd of customers. Since 2010, an unusual website titled “Black Friday Death Count” continues to tally the injuries and deaths reported among shoppers and employees. So far, the website lists 10 deaths and 111 injuries since 2010.
Know Your Rights When Working on Black Friday
If you are working on Black Friday this year, here are some important things for you to remember:
- If you are working “overtime”, check with your employee handbook to review policies that might apply to you. If you are entitled to overtime pay, make sure you get it.
- OSHA developed crowd management safety guidelines following the 2008 death of a Wal-Mart employee. Make sure that you and your employer follow these guidelines.
- Your employer is responsible for ensuring a safe work environment. That includes ensuring that:
- All employees are properly trained
- Security guards are on-site, if needed
- Employees have adequate gear for the job (shoes, braces, etc.)
- Unruly customers are dealt with in a timely manner
- Remember that you are not legally obligated to place yourself if a dangerous situation. If your work environment spirals out of control, let your boss know and remove yourself from the situation.
For more specific information, contact The Law Offices of George S. Henderson to discuss your rights.