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5 Workplace Poster Oversights That Can Get Small Businesses Into Trouble

When it comes to labor law compliance, small businesses may fail to recognize the federal, state and local requirements. Or they may be aware of their basic obligations but think that putting up a few posters in the breakroom every year is sufficient. Unfortunately, it’s not this simple. Posting compliance is a complex, ever-changing undertaking that requires awareness, attention and action.

Understanding Posting Requirements That Affect All Businesses

As a small business owner, never assume that the rules don’t apply to you or that no one will investigate your company. This mentality leads to complacency, which may result in significant fines and potential lawsuits.

To help you better understand posting complexities, let’s look at how some businesses land themselves in hot water. Here are five common oversights:

Mistake #1: Thinking updates only occur annually

The perception that once-a-year updates are sufficient is short-sighted. When federal laws change, any one of the six federal posters must be updated. You’re also responsible for mandatory state postings. Depending on your state, this could add up to 19 additional posters — for a total of 25 federal and state postings per business location. Further still, you may have extra posting obligations if you’re in certain cities or counties. Poster changes occur sporadically at various times throughout the year — not just in January when most states and cities increase their minimum wage rates. You need to know when changes occur on the federal, state and local levels, and make sure your posters reflect these updates.

Mistake #2: Underestimating the impact of noncompliance

Another common misconception is that fines are minimal should you get caught with outdated posters. The truth is, fines can be substantial, and they add up quickly if you have multiple violations. On the federal level, fines can be more than $41,000 per location for posting violations. On a state and local level, the government posting fines are typically from $100 to $1,000 per violation. (Each posting carries its own fines because every agency and posting law is different.) Employers also face increased liability in employment lawsuits when they have not posted the proper notices.

Mistake #3: Ignoring the possibility of getting caught

While it’s true government agents typically don’t go door to door checking posters, you run the risk of a review should an agency visit for other reasons. It could be a Form I-9 audit, an OSHA inspection, an EEOC onsite investigation or even a Department of Labor (DOL) follow-up to an employee complaint. The complaint or investigation could be completely unrelated to labor law posters, but the agencies will check posting compliance as part of the visit.

Mistake #4: Assuming there’s a one-stop shop for free government posters

Federal, state and local agencies often don’t work together, so there’s no central place or website for all the necessary posters you must post. About 175 agencies across the U.S. are responsible for issuing more than 500 posters. To manage posting compliance for just one business location, you would have to contact up to nine agencies for federal and state posters. On top of that, around 22,000 local jurisdictions are authorized to issue their own postings. Not all these postings are mandatory, but many are — which represents a growing responsibility for small businesses.

Mistake #5: Neglecting to inform remote employees

With remote work now the norm for many businesses, it’s important to consider how you’ll share labor law postings with them. By law, you’re required to provide mandatory labor law notices to employees whether they work on site or off-site. Regulations don’t specify the format, but it’s become more common to provide electronic postings to all off-site employees.

Think you’re clear of posting responsibilities because you’re a small business? If you employ at least one worker, you must display current labor law posters in the workplace.

Dedicated Service Keeps Your Workplace Postings Up to Date

No matter the size of your business, don’t neglect your federal, state and local posting requirements — or cut corners with the specifics. Poster Guard® Poster Compliance Service provides 365 days of posting coverage, as well as automatic replacements with mandatory changes. The result is complete and guaranteed coverage, no matter how many legislative changes occur in a year.

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