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shop talk | agents WORKRIGHTS


JURY SERVICE For US citizens, serving on a jury is a privilege and responsibility, with the jury system an integral part of the American legal system. However, jury duty can often create financial hardship for those who have to take substantial time off work and causes a range of issues in the office when employees are called to serve. “Employers cannot deny employees their


civic duty to serve on a jury,” says Mike Kappel, of Patriot Software, a developer of online small business software for American employers. “The Jury System Improvement Act protects the rights of employees who are called to serve on a federal jury. “This law does not protect juror service


for state and local courts, but most states also have laws that protect employees from termination or ‘intimidation’ from the employer for serving on a jury.” The law also covers reductions in pay,


benefits or seniority, or any other change in the conditions of employment as a result of jury service. Any employer found in violation of this statute will owe lost earnings and benefits to the employee and be subject to a civil fine of up to $5,000 for each violation. In addition, the employer may have to reinstate the employee’s job without loss of seniority. The laws on paying employees for jury duty


depend on the employee’s classification and state. As a rule, jurors receive payment from the court for their service on a jury. Employers may reduce the amount paid to an employee while they are on jury duty by the amount they received for jury pay. Anyone who receives a jury service summons


should notify their office manager, HR representative or direct superior straight away in order to give management enough time to minimize disruptions in the workflow. Similarly, employers are encouraged to include a section in the company handbook that details the responsibilities of both parties with regard to jury service. In some cases, courts will allow employees


to request a postponement of jury duty if serving the duty would severely interrupt the operation of the employer. However, this is only a temporary delay, and the employee will eventually have to serve. uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/JuryService.aspx


Consumers are becoming aware of their carbon footprint FOCUS ON Sustainable travel


THE TOTAL NUMBER of worldwide travelers is expected to reach 1.8 billion a year by 2030, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and with much of the growth in developing countries the boom is likely to be countered by the impact on the environment. As vacationers become increasingly aware of their carbon footprint, many are actively looking for sustainable travel options. “Clients are giving the nod of approval as we


provide more and more ‘eco-friendly’ vacations around the world,” says Annette Nero Stellhorn, president of Maryland and Delaware’s Accent On Travel. “The increase in requests for hotels and villas within walking distance of cultural sites, or experiences that feature learning about local wildlife or locally grown food, have us revamping our group travel program offerings.” Responding to increased awareness, ASTA


has updated its Green Guide for Travel Agents and Green Guide for Travel Suppliers, providing a valuable tool to promote their knowledge of sustainable travel. Previously the guide concentrated primarily on environmental impacts, but the new material outlines expectations for sustainable management, and socio-economic and cultural impacts in sustainable tourism.


The guides are the core of ASTA’s Green


Program, an education and self-assessment platform for agents and suppliers. “Increased travel and tourism provides positive


benefits, such as economic growth and sustaining local cultures. However, we know there can be a cost both environmentally and socially on destinations,” says ASTA CEO Zane Kerby. “Travel agents can have a huge impact in protecting travel for the future by promoting sustainable and socially responsible travel.” The agent guide demonstrates the benefits


of marketing sustainable travel. ASTA believes a large segment of the traveling population cares about the environment and expresses a desire to make sustainable choices when they travel. In support, the 2013 Cone Communications/


Echo Global CSR Study of more than 10,000 consumers across 10 countries, including the US, found “companies are expected to be an active participant, if not a driving force, in solving the most pressing social and environmental issues”. The majority said an organization’s green


credentials would influence purchasing decisions. ASTA believes this is an important message for agents, as the consumers surveyed have a substantial income for travel. asta.org/green


38 | ASTAnetwork | summer 2014


WORDS: JEANNINE WILLIAMSON. IMAGE: GETTY


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