When I am doing a compliance check for a client one of the things I check on for them is if they have the correct Federal and State posters posted for employees to read. The business is required by law to communicate to its employees what laws the business must abide by and what rights the employees have. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.
The number is not consistent
Putting posters up is not quite as simple as it may sound. The posters that must be posted will depend on the nature of the business, its size, and what state it is located in. A recent report by XpertHR showed that the number of posters required varies significantly state to state from a low of one in the state of Idaho to a high of 36 in California.
The federal posters that are required will also vary to a degree. If you are a very small company, typically under 15 employees, many of the federal laws to not apply to you thus you don’t have to post the posters that apply to things like EEO or Family and Medical Leave. Federal contractors also have some additional requirements that are not necessary for non-contractors. Here is a list that most companies that have more than 15 employees must post:
- Equal employment opportunity
- Fair Labor Standards Act
- Family and Medical Leave (for companies over 50 employees)
- Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act
- Polygraph Protection Act
- Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act
This list may not be comprehensive enough for your particular situation. Help can be found at the Posters Page at the US Department of Labor. Often you can meet your obligation by buying one of the available Federal Labor Law posters from any number of suppliers.
Difficulties with posters
The report from XpertHR listed eight challenges in dealing with posters. These include:
- Just getting posters can be a challenge, though they are available typically on state department of labor websites in downloadable pdf formats.
- Sometimes the poster has not been printed by the compliance date. Of course if it has not been printed there is not much you can do, other than calling the appropriate state agency and at least documenting what you have done.
- Adjusting to changing requirements. Putting a poster up is not a “one and done” event. Many of the states have posters that change on an annual basis. You have to have a system to be constantly aware of changes.
- Determining Scope and Coverage of Posting Requirements. Sometimes it takes some work to determine if your company has to comply.
- Determining Posting Locations. Generally posters have to be placed where employees congregate, but there may be specific locations outside of general areas. Some posters have to be accessible to applicants too.
- Compliance in the Most Challenging Six States. There are six states that are the most difficult to operate in from a compliance standpoint. As you might imagine California is included. Other than Hawaii the other four are on the East coast.
- Posting Requirements Do Not Fulfill Employee Notice Obligations. In addition to the posters some employers may have additional notifications and communications that must be given to employees.
- Deciding Whether to Post Additional Information. The process of communication with employees may extend beyond posters and each company must decide what is appropriate for its location.
A full copy of this report is available at Top Eight Employer Challenges Regarding State Labor Law Posters found at http://www.xperthr.com/pages/employers-guide-to-state-labor-law-posters. (Registration required to download)
Non-compliance can be costly
“Failure to display state-required labor laws may result in a substantial penalty,” says Marta Moakley, JD, Legal Editor, XpertHR. “Fines can vary, ranging from as low as a few hundred up to thousands of dollars. Employers need to stay on top of changes made by federal, state, and OSHA agencies and update mandatory labor law posters to avoid being penalized.”
Compliance in some states can be a challenge. In California you not only have federal posters and state posters, but you also have posters required by different municipalities, such as San Francisco. So make sure you have someone who is up-to-date and understands what is required. Anytime someone from the government walks in your door they will want to see your posters. They want to make sure you have communicated with employees. If you have not it will cost you.