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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Foreign Language Posting Requirements Every Employer Should Know

When it comes to labor law posting compliance, many employers mistakenly overlook foreign language requirements.

But due to the increasing number of people in the U.S. who speak a language other than English, these workplace postings are a growing necessity. According to the 2019 Census survey, there are approximately 60.4 million Hispanic people in the U.S., or 18.4% of the population. Furthermore, Spanish is the second most spoken language in the U.S.

Employers must carefully consider their responsibility to inform all employees of their employment rights. And if you think you’re excused from displaying foreign language postings because you have an all-English-speaking workforce or only a few employees who speak another language such as Spanish, you’ll want to take special note.

Spanish Postings No Matter the Workplace Makeup

Currently, 19 states — plus Washington, D.C and Puerto Rico — require businesses to display certain labor law postings in Spanish even if they don’t have any Spanish-speaking employees. If you operate in any of the following locations, you must display applicable postings in English and Spanish:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Puerto Rico
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah

Be sure to check with your local municipalities for any foreign-language posting requirements beyond those at the state level.

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:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • District of Columbia
  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee

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.

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