Knowing exactly which labor law posters an employer is required to display gets trickier every day. Not only must you know which federal, state and local postings are required for your business, but you are also responsible for following complex rules about where to post them, at what size and when they must be updated. Increasingly, Spanish labor law posters are also required to be posted for employees.
That’s right, it’s likely you should (or must) post certain labor law posters in both English and Spanish. The goal is to make sure all employees fully understand their rights, and displaying translated posters for employees who are not fluent in English supports that goal. More importantly, displaying Spanish labor law posters provides you with an extra layer of protection in the event of a legal dispute.
Spanish Labor Law Posters: To Display… or Not?
Many employers mistakenly believe they are not required to display foreign language labor law postings if their entire staff speaks English. The truth is, nearly half of all states require businesses to display certain labor law postings in both English and Spanish, regardless of workforce demographics.
In addition, businesses that are subject to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) must display the FMLA posting in Spanish if they have a “significant portion of workers” who are not literate in English. The law does not define “significant portion,” so a good rule of thumb is to include the Spanish translation of the FMLA posting if more than 10 percent of your workers speak Spanish as their primary language.
Confusion often occurs because there is no mandate to display all posters in Spanish. But just one slip-up could have serious consequences if a Spanish-speaking employee files a complaint that involves not understanding their legal rights. As a result, employment law experts advise employers to err on the side of caution and post all employee notices in Spanish if they have any workers who are not fluent in English.
According to the US Census Bureau, an estimated 41 million US residents, or 13.4% of the population, speak Spanish at home.
As of April 2022, these 19 states plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, have passed statutes requiring certain postings to be displayed in Spanish, even if you have no Spanish-speaking employees:
Several local municipalities also have foreign-language requirements for labor law posters, so it’s wise to check with local authorities regarding what you are required to post in multiple languages. (Or, use a reliable poster service that guarantees compliance with all federal, state, county and city posting laws — see below.)
One word of caution: Relying on non-legal experts to translate labor law posters can be risky, as they may not be familiar with the intricacies of the regulations. As a result, you can end up with non-compliant posters that don’t reflect the true intent of the issuing agencies and the underlying laws.
Rules for Locations with Spanish-Speaking Employees
If you have a significant number of Spanish-speaking workers at your office who don’t speak English proficiently, you must display all federal postings in both English and Spanish.
Because the law isn’t clear on a "significant number" of Spanish-speaking workers, employers are often unsure about how to proceed. It’s a best practice to display federal postings in Spanish if they affect 10 percent or more of the staff at any given location. The same, or stricter, guidelines apply with certain state and city/county postings, where postings should be displayed in any language spoken by 5-10 percent or more of employees, or that affect at least five employees. For example, these eight states plus Washington, D.C. require certain posters be displayed in Spanish if an employer has a certain number of employees who are not literate in English:
- DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
- NEW JERSEY
- NEW MEXICO
Keep in mind: Most employers who must display federal posters in Spanish also choose to post state postings in both languages, regardless of employee makeup. This can provide an added layer of protection in a legal dispute.
Rely on Poster Guard to Satisfy Foreign Language Requirements
If you’re in any of the states that require mandatory Spanish labor law posters, rest assured that Poster Guard® Compliance Protection has you covered. The Poster Guard base service includes all mandatory foreign-language translations that are required for all employers. We guarantee our posters are compliant with all current federal, state, county and city posting regulations — or we pay the government fines, no matter how big.
For situations where Spanish posters are required only if you have Spanish-speaking employees, we offer the option of a full bilingual (English/Spanish) poster service. Even where not required by law, this option is recommended for maximum protection if you have any Spanish-speaking employees who are not fluent in English..