Is it Legal? Automated Calling for the Staffing Industry
The latest amendments to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), are nearing their one year anniversary. Yet, we still field questions from staffing companies about the legalities of using automated calling to contact their associates. We are happy to report that YES, you can contact employees and associates with group messages. Brad did a great job laying out the legalities of calling last year when TCPA went into effect, so we encourage you to read that article. In particular, the paragraph titled “Telemarketing and Informational Calls – Different rules apply!” usually hits home for staffing firms.
There are really just two quick points which I'm confident will quell your concerns about the legality of using automated calling. I also highlighted some ground rules we like to pass on.
Calling Your Associates
When speaking with staffing firms, the legality of calls is usually quickly established with two points:
1) The TCPA primarily addresses telemarketing calls.
If your call is informational, most of the provisions of the law don’t apply to your call. For example, when a staffing agency makes calls to associates about open positions, they are making an informational (not telemarketing) call.
2) Giving someone your phone number is consent to be called.
Folks unfamiliar with these laws frequently worry about the pre-call requirement for “prior express consent” - particularly when it comes to cell phones. However, the law clearly indicates that the simple act of giving your phone number to someone establishes consent to receive informational calls. It’s that simple. So, when an applicant gives you their phone number on an application - they are giving you consent to call them about open positions, shift changes, important reminders, or any other informational call you deem necessary.
Just because a message might be legal, it doesn't mean that the law and common decency don’t still apply to the details. Here are a few ground rules for you to follow:
1) While you aren't required to divulge the potential usage of an automated calling system, transparency is always something we suggest. We recommend asking associates if they would prefer to receive phone calls from your company. This way, you’re up front, and giving them a choice.
2) Allow opt-outs. Every call you send should allow recipients to easily opt out from receiving future messages. Every. Single. One. Then, train your staff to handle opt out requests they receive in person.
3) Contact people that want to be called. If you are sending short and sweet messages to people that want to receive them, you won’t have anything to worry about.
4) Don’t overdo it. Be aware that every phone call you send will interrupt someone. Make it worthwhile.
We hope you found this information helpful. If you still have questions or concerns, just let us know. We work with hundreds of staffing firms and would be happy to refer you to one of your peers.
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