When you consider all of the rules and regulations that accompany owning and running a business, displaying labor law posters may seem insignificant; but it’s not. You are required as an employer (even if you have only one employee) to post state and federal labor law posters—AND keep them current.
The posters inform employees and employers about their rights, as formulated by the federal and state governing bodies. Clearly employers must adhere to the laws outlined on the posters, and employees should be aware of their rights, but the displaying of the posters is also critical. Neglecting to display the proper posters could result in fines up to $17,000, even worse if an issue developed with an employee who could claim ignorance because of improper posting. Most fines are determined on a case-by-case basis and vary by agency; maximum fines would be incurred for repeated violations.
Accessibility—The posters must be accessible to all employees, which means post them in places employees frequent daily (break rooms/cafeterias, copy rooms, near time-clocks, etc.). If your company occupies multiple floors or buildings, it’s mandated by the U.S. Department of Labor that the posters are available on each floor and/or in each building. Obviously each separate physical location would be required to display its own set of posters. If your company has an intranet you could also (not instead of) post copies of the posters on the home page.
Legibility—Employees must be able to decipher and understand the copy on the posters (readable font, large enough print); you should also have posters in English and Spanish, (or any other language that is common among your employees). Spanish version postings are highly recommended for employers with Spanish speaking/reading employees in the following states, since the agencies in these 32 states publish bilingual postings: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Washington. It is an employer’s responsibility to inform their employees, either English- or Spanish-speaking, of their rights under employment law. Some employment law posters are available in languages other than English or Spanish. The federal FMLA regulations indicate that “[w]here an employer’s workforce is comprised of a significant portion of workers who are not literate in English, the employer shall provide the general notice in a language in which the employees are literate.”
Updating—Periodically these posters are updated, and as an employer you are required to keep up with and post these changes. Each state may also have its own set of required labor law posters; these also must be kept current and displayed prominently.
What to Post
There are a handful of posters employers are mandated to display. All posters are listed and available to download on the U.S. Department of Labor website (dol.gov). Each poster has specifications to be compliant—for example the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires the OSHA Job Safety and Health: It’s the Law poster to be at least 8.5” x 14” with 10 point type.
The following must be posted in your place of business (per the U.S. DOL):
Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law—Provides information concerning the laws and procedures for filing complaints of violations of the laws with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)— Establishes minimum wages, overtime pay, record-keeping and child labor standards for private sector and government workers. The FLSA is administered and enforced by the Wage and Hour Division.
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)—Provides an entitlement of up to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave during any 12-month period to eligible, covered employees for the following reasons: 1) birth and care of the eligible employee’s child, or placement for adoption or foster care of a child with the employee; 2) care of an immediate family member (spouse, child, parent) who has a serious health condition; or 3) when the employee is unable to work due to his or her own serious health condition. The FMLA is administered and enforced by the Wage and Hour Division.
Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act—Requires employers to comply with occupational safety and health standards issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and to provide employees with a workplace that is free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm. The OSH Act is administered and enforced by OSHA.
Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA)—Prohibits most private employers from using lie detector tests, either for pre-employment screening or during the course of employment. The EPPA is administered and enforced by the Wage and Hour Division.
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)—Requires employers to provide to employees notice of their rights, benefits and obligations under USERRA. Employers may provide the required notice by distributing it or posting it where employee notices are customarily placed. USERRA is administered by the Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS).
HFA Can Help
You can visit the dol.gov website and download free versions of the required posters and visit your state department of labor site for its posters. You will then have to remember to check for updates and be aware of any changes made to any posters. All posters also have to be laminated so they cannot be altered once displayed.
Members of the Home Furnishings Association can take advantage of a discounted all-in-one poster that includes state and federal information, which comes with a 12-month subscription for automatic updates. Click here to find out more.