While some business practices are recommended and/or optional under specific circumstances, others clearly are not. Take labor law posting compliance. Not only is it a necessity for every U.S. business with at least one employee to display the latest required postings for employers, but it’s also a responsibility that carries significant risk if you fall short.
With federal postings, the government can now issue fines of more than $35,000 per location (previously $17,000) for posting violations. On a state level, the fines for missing or outdated posters are typically between $100 and $1,000 per violation.
You also need to be mindful of employee lawsuits and disputes related to the laws covered in these posters, such as discrimination, unpaid overtime or even FMLA discrepancies. In the instance of a posting violation, the courts may decide to extend the statute of limitations and allow an 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 – Obtain required postings for employers at every level
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 16 state postings may be necessary, depending on your state. If you’re in California, for example, this could mean as many as 22 total postings. Plus, additional posters are required in certain cities and counties – a rapidly growing area of posting compliance for many businesses.
Step 2 – Check that labor law postings are current
Posting changes are on the rise, with hundreds of mandatory state poster changes occurring each year. In 2020, there were more than 175 mandatory changes across 38 states – and all of them required updated posters.
Step 3 – Be certain 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 – Address postings in all required languages
You may need to display postings in English and Spanish, regardless of your workforce demographics. In fact, 19 states, plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, require certain postings in Spanish, even if you have no Spanish-speaking employees.
Step 5 – Take care of E-Verify requirements
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 related posters.
Did you know you must use E-Verify (and put up the appropriate postings) if you have federal contracts, you’re a federal agency or you’re a public sector employer?
Step 6 – Make sure to display applicant area postings
Of the six federally mandated labor law posters, four must be visible to job applicants: FMLA, EEOC, EPPA and USERRA. Certain state, city and county postings may be necessary, as well. For your online job applicants, the Online Job Applicant Posting Service makes electronic posters viewable via a web link you add to your website, online applicant system or external job postings.
Step 7 – Include any industry-specific 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 add up to as many as 17 additional postings for healthcare employers in certain states.
Step 8 – Pay attention to 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 – Be certain 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 – Don’t overlook remote worker requirements
Are you among the many employers now allowing employees to work from home during the pandemic? By law, you must inform all employees of their legal rights and responsibilities, which includes these remote workers. 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, you’ll want to explore an electronic solution to meet the requirement.
Our Poster Guard® E-Service for Remote Workers provides all the posting images and updates directly to your remote workers via email. The service also includes full tracking of employee acknowledgments for proof of compliance on our secure web portal.
And for a comprehensive approach to all your posting compliance needs, turn to Poster Guard® Compliance Protection. It is guaranteed to be 100% compliant with current laws, resulting in 365 days of complete labor law coverage at the federal, state and local levels.