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Do I Need Posters in English and Spanish? Learn the Laws Regarding Foreign Language Postings

Many employers mistakenly believe that they are not required to display foreign labor law postings simply because they only have English-speaking employees on staff. It’s a common misconception. But the truth is that nearly half of all states require businesses to display certain labor law postings in both English and Spanish regardless of workforce demographics.

States Requiring Spanish Postings for All Employers

As of July 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:

  • 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

Regulations for Locations with Spanish-Speaking Employees

Companies with Spanish-speaking workers on staff have additional foreign labor law posting obligations. If you have locations with a significant number of Spanish-speaking employees who aren’t proficient in English, all federal postings should be displayed in both English and Spanish.

What is a “significant number?” The law isn’t definitive on this, so it’s best practice to display federal postings in Spanish if they affect 10 percent or more of the staff at any given location.

Posting both federal and state posters in Spanish and English is a best practice that can provide added protection in a legal dispute.

There are also some guidelines that 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 six 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
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee

Local Laws Requiring Foreign Language Postings

Several cities and counties have foreign language requirements for labor law posters. This is an added complication as employers try to manage federal, state and now local ordinances.

Some examples include:

  • San Francisco Minimum Wage, Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance, and Fair Chance Ordinance: Postings must be displayed in English, Spanish, Chinese and any other language spoken by at least 5 percent of employees at the workplace.
  • Cupertino, California Minimum Wage: Postings must be displayed in the top three languages spoken in the city.
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave: Postings must be displayed in English and any language spoken by at least 5 percent of employees

Foreign Language Notifications

An employer’s responsibility does not end with displaying foreign language posters, they must also distribute notifications in certain languages.

For example, in New Jersey

  • Employers with 10 or more employees must annually distribute a notice informing them of their protections and obligations under the Conscientious Employee Protection Act. This notice must be distributed in English and Spanish.
  • Employers with 50 or more employees must distribute the New Jersey Gender Equity Notice to all new hires, to any employee upon his/her first request for the notice, and to all employees annually on or before December 31 of each year. Again, this notice must be distributed in English and Spanish.

To learn more about your legal obligations, check out our on-demand webinar on mandatory employee handouts.

Get Complete Coverage

When it comes to mandatory labor law postings, nothing short of total compliance will protect your business from the risk of government fines and employee lawsuits. This includes foreign language labor law posting requirements. With Poster Guard® Compliance Protection, you receive Spanish-language postings in all states where they are required by law at no extra charge. For all other states, you can take advantage of optional bilingual (English and Spanish) posters. Poster Guard also offers an employee handout service so you have access to all notices required by law.

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