As you’re probably aware, labor law posting compliance is not a choice. Labor law posters are mandatory for every employer in the U.S. – even, in most cases, if you only have one or two employees.
Not only is compliance not optional, but there are also some pretty serious consequences for failing to meet the workplace posting requirements. With federal postings, the government can fine up to $17,000 per location for posting violations, which could be missing posters or outdated posters. On a state level, the fines are typically between $100 and $1,000 per violation.
Then there’s the issue of employee lawsuits and disputes related to the laws covered in these posters, such as discrimination, unpaid overtime or even FMLA discrepancies. If you have a posting violation, the courts may decide to extend the statute of limitations and allow the employee to pursue the claim well beyond the normal time period. Further still, you could be guilty of acting in ‘bad faith’ if, among other things like not having written policies or conducting proper training, you didn’t display all the necessary employee-facing posters.
Since posting compliance is your first line of defense with a government audit or private lawsuit, it’s important to get it right. Let’s go through 10 basic steps to determine if your posting station is complete and fully compliant:
Step 1 – Make sure you have all the required postings for employers
In addition to the six federal postings — Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC), Minimum Wage (FLSA) Military Rights (USERRA), Workplace Safety (OSHA), Employee Polygraph Protection (EPPA) and Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) – be aware that up to 15 state postings may be required, depending on your state. If you’re in California, for example, this could mean as many as 21 total postings. Plus, additional posters are required in certain cities and counties – a rapidly growing area of posting compliance for many businesses.
Step 2 – Make sure your labor law postings are current
Posting changes are on the rise, with approximately 75 mandatory state poster changes occurring each year. Government agencies do not notify you when changes occur, so it’s your responsibility to monitor changes and update your posters.
Step 3 – Make sure your postings are compliant
Posters must meet minimum size and font requirements, along with strict color and/or layout specifications. Cutting corners by shrinking posters or not printing in color can put your company at risk for non-compliance.
Step 4 – Make sure you’re posting all required languages
Certain postings must be displayed in Spanish regardless of your workforce demographics. In fact, 22 states require certain Spanish postings for all employers. You may have additional obligations if you employ workers who don’t speak English.
Step 5 – Make sure you consider E-Verify
E-Verify is an internet-based system operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to verify the employment eligibility of new employees. If you participate in E-Verify – either as a requirement for your business or state, or voluntarily – you must display certain posters.
Step 6 – Make sure to display individual postings
Don’t overlook posters that must be displayed apart from your main employee posting stations. No-smoking posters, for example, are mandatory employee notices in 31 states (and many cities/counties).
Step 7 – Make sure you include industry postings
Certain industries have additional labor law posting requirements under federal and state law, such as restaurants, healthcare, and the public sector. Every state has different industry-specific requirements, which could mean up to 15 additional postings.
Step 8 – Make sure you remember federal contractor requirements
In recent years, the number of businesses with government funding/contracts has grown – especially in industries such as construction, finance, telecommunications, technology, transportation, and non-profits. Additional posting obligations depend on types and values of contracts – with severe penalties for non-compliance, including steep fines up to suspension or cancellation of federal contracts.
Step 9 – Make sure you have enough posting stations
Labor law posters must be displayed in “conspicuous locations” accessible to all employees. Specific posting locations depend on your facility size and layout, with most companies requiring multiple posting display sites to comply (front vs. back of the house). Consider posting in break rooms, in locker rooms, at employee entrances, in the HR department, and in applicant areas.
Step 10 – Make sure you cover your remote workers
By law, you must provide the mandatory federal and state notices to all your employees. If an employee regularly reports to the office (e.g., several times a month), physical posting locations in the business are sufficient. For other remote workers, however, it’s a best practice to use an online system that includes tracking and employee acknowledgments.
So you’ve gone through the 10 steps but you still have questions. For more details on each of these steps – and guidance on the best solutions for your business – please check out the webinar by our senior employment law attorney: Poster Compliance Audit: Is Your Business at Risk?