Retail employees work in a variety of merchandise industries including those that sell appliances, furniture, apparel, home-improvement goods, recreational vehicles, and automobiles. Their work entails direct service to the customer who buys and small quantities, comparative wholesaling that specializes in bulk sales to commercial buyers. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics states that there are more retailers in the United States than any other employment group, representing approximately 6% of the total American workforce.
The more than 7.5 million workers in the retail industry hold sales position and cashier jobs. The employees are typically hired by different outlets including specialists at apparel stores, department stores, big-box retailers, supermarkets and others that require one-on-one assistance to assist customers in choosing items and paying for the product. Common job duties associated with retail employees include:
- Stocking Shelves – The retail employees required to stock shelves to Ensure there is ample merchandise available for consumers to purchase. Their duties involve checking the shelf inventory and replenishing supplies when items are running low. In some cases, the worker must identify product labels and check dates to ensure that all expired products are removed before their "sell-by" date. If the item requires a price markdown, the employee must go through the inventory to add new price stickers or remove the existing price tag.
- Merchandising – During promotional times, the employee is required to merchandise the product to increase sales. Merchandising includes building displays, adding signage, and taking other measures to increase consumer awareness that the promotional offer offering sales prices is available.
- Assisting the Customer – In some high retail establishments, the retail employee is required to assist the customer in selecting the best product that fits their needs. This customer assistance service might require the employee to demonstrate the product or provide advice on how the item meets the consumers' needs. Customer assistance is also provided in a variety of self-service stores including electronic stores, supermarkets, and other retailers where the consumer needs to have the product's features explained.
- Checkout Assistance – If the customer is ready to checkout, many retail employees have the authority to accept payment from the purchaser and double duty as a cashier in the store. Their cashiering duties might entail using a scanning system that automatically locates the price of the item and enters it into the sales transaction. Otherwise, the employee will have to manually enter every purchase detail into the cash register to ensure the transaction price is correct and the sale is complete.
- Providing Customer Service – Every retail employee providing services "on the floor" within sight of customers is responsible for providing customer service in some capacity. Other workers will oversee arranging home deliveries, dealing with product exchanges and returns, and applying discounts to ensure the shelf price matches the checkout price.
Additional duties that happen routinely include performing basic operational tasks including closing and opening the store, removing and replacing essential signage as a part of merchandising, and supervising deliveries of new merchandise being brought into the store. Successful, long-term retail employees have certain characteristics including the desire to make the customer happy through honesty, patience, and empathy in satisfying the consumer's shopping needs.
If you or a family member was injured while working at retail, you are likely entitled to workers compensation benefits. Contact the workers compensation attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC for more information and a free review of your legal rights and options.
Retail Employee Safety Hazards
There are significant hazards to work in the retail industry that could cause the worker to experience severe harm or death. The work-related risk factors can be dangerous under certain circumstances. The most common hazards recognized in the retail industry include:
- Slipping, Tripping and Falling – Many retail workers suffer injuries by falling from ladders and slipping on wet surfaces.
- Heavy Lifting – Moving heavy merchandise boxes, shelving and tables or pushing heavy boxes using two-wheel and four-wheel carts can cause significant injuries.
- Machinery-Related Injuries caused by using power tools, food slicers, and other equipment.
- Chemical Exposure – Injuries caused by exposure from spilled chemicals and cleaning products.
- Forklift and Pallet Jack Injuries – Moving merchandise through mechanical means of a forklift or pallet jack creates retail workplace hazards like crushing injuries that occur when the victim is caught in or caught on a forklift or pallet jack.
- Cuts and Lacerations from using sharp objects including knives and box cutters.
- Work-Related Stress – Injuries caused by stressful tension in the workplace can result in poor health and physical harm.
- Excessive Workplace Noise generated by machinery, equipment, and tools that vibrate or emit excessive decibels that could lead to significant hearing loss or other injuries.
- Work-Related Bullying – Employees are often exposed to bullying involving unruly customers, angry coworkers, and harassing supervisors.
- Job-Related Violence – Workers can be exposed to criminal activity including robberies and abusive customer behavior.
Most hazards in the workplace occurred to new, inexperienced employees due to a failure to provide adequate supervision or proper training that insurers their job was performed correctly and safely. Other times, the worker is injured when working at night, working alone, or through overexertion caused by working extended hours. The employer, manager or supervisor should ensure that every retail employee has all necessary PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to keep them safe on the job.
Long-term employees who have worked there for years or decades may develop repetitive motion injuries through constantly and repetitively performing the same tasks that caused muscle and nerve damage to the hand, fingers, wrist, forearm, shoulders, and neck.
Remaining safe in the workplace cannot just be accomplished by developing a program. The effort by the management, owners, and supervisors to create a mindset of safety principles that are followed diligently is a crucial component of employees remaining safe on the job. A mindful approach to safety as an integral component of being a professional can ensure that every employee's health and well-being and the work environment remains protected.
Retail Employees' Wages
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics 2016, data concerning the employment statistics of the previous year, 100,370 Retail Employees were working in the Chicago, Naperville and Arlington Heights metropolitan area. On average, Retail Employees in northeastern Illinois earn $28,410 every year (mean wage), which is $14.40 per hour. The wage is slightly higher than the national averages. See Chart
Retail Employee Fatalities and Severe Injuries
Many employees who work in any retail establishment are placed at risk every day while on the job. In recent years, the numbers of killings in injuries caused by criminal actions against retail workers have risen significantly. Below is a small sample of retail employee fatalities that occurred while the worker was on the job.
- Case 1: Avondale, Arizona – In February 2017, a Best Buy employee was involved in a domestic violence double shooting just before noon. The 26-year-old female employee and a 27-year-old male were transported to the hospital by EMT where the woman was pronounced dead. Witnesses detailed a confrontation that occurred outside the Best Buy between both individuals in the shooting. After a few shots were fired outside the store by the male suspect, the female employee ran inside but was followed by the shooter who fired several more shots. Terrified employees and customers ran for cover. Two women were unable to escape through the emergency door and instead hid in the women's bathroom.
- Case 2: Warrenton, Virginia – A 76-year-old employee allegedly murdered his 64-year-old CVS store manager. The local police found the managers body behind the store near a dumpster after sundown. Police are still attempting to determine the alleged suspect's motivation who has been charged with the manager's murder.
- Case 3: Long Island, New York – A part-time Walmart worker was trampled to death on Black Friday in November 2008 when thousands of eager shoppers rushed the front entrance while the worker was attempting to unlock a door. Video surveillance revealed the crowd of at least a dozen individuals to the floor during the stampede of early shopping opportunities in their attempt to get through the doors first.
- Case 4: Crawford County, Pennsylvania – An employee died in a suspected homicide while working in a vitamin store. The 21-year-old male employee was discovered at approximately 8:00 AM in December 2017. Police determined that the victim died the night before approximately 7:00 PM, which would coincide with the store's closing time.
- Case 5: Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania – After more of a year of investigating, officials have charged two suspects in the fatal shooting of the Northampton County horizon store employee in 2016. The murder victim was killed in front of his Palmer Township home after leaving the Verizon store. The two suspects apparently wanted to abduct the victim and taken to the horizon store to commit robbery. Witnesses in the neighborhood said that the suspects were seen in the neighborhood shortly after the victim had died.
- Case 6: Memphis, Tennessee – A cold-blooded murder claimed the life of a jewelry store employee who was shot in front of his one-year-old son. The incident occurred during the afternoon hours in February 2017 at a Memphis strip mall. The alleged shooter was seen wearing all black clothing and a mask while fleeing the scene after the incident. The employee's wife found her young son covered in blood next to her deceased husband.
- Case 7: Charlotte, North Carolina – A reward has been offered for information that leads to the arrest of a cold-blooded murderer who took the life of a 7-Eleven worker. The incident involved a mass shooter who was captured on video surveillance moments before killing the 55-year-old employee. The worker was shot in the early morning hours when no other customers were inside the store. Law enforcement pronounced the victim dead at the scene.
- Case 8: Cleveland, Ohio – A 44-year-old Mount Pleasant convenience store worker was killed in a shooting after slapping the robber's gun. The North Olmsted resident received one gunshot wound to the chest in the early evening hours in November 2016. The robber demanded cash while pointing a gun at the victim who slapped the gun away as the gun fired. EMT responders transported the shooting victim to the local University Hospital where he died of his injuries.
Many victims of serious violent crime and workplace hazards file for workman's compensation benefits every year. Of those, some have taken the initiative to hire personal injury attorneys to handle their case to seek additional compensation from other parties that might also be at fault for their damages. Hiring an attorney makes sense. These cases tend to be highly complex and require the skills of a personal injury attorney who has a comprehensive understanding of Illinois tort law.
Get Sufficiently Compensated for Your Injuries
Our lawyers help injured Retail Employees obtain compensation under the IL Worker's Compensation Act and through civil lawsuits. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers (888-424-5757) provides Free Claim Evaluations, Case Reviews, and a No-Win/No Fee Guarantee.
Dealing with the horrific aftermath of an on-the-job accident can be complex, tricky and challenging. Our legal team understands you and your family are already dealing with enough when it comes time to file a claim through Worker's Compensation. Our attorneys can navigate your claim through Government regulations and red tape, the state's statute of limitations and how to prove third-party negligence in a court of law.
A seasoned lawyer from our staff could assist your family in successfully resolving your monetary compensation claim against all parties at fault. Our law firm working on your behalf can handle every aspect of the case to ensure the appropriate documentation is filed before the Illinois statute of limitations expires.
Contact A Retail Store Workers Compensation & Injury Law Firm
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