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Ask the Attorney: Labor Law Posting Requirements That Can Fall Under the Radar

8/24/2017
lesser known labor law posting requirements

Ashley Kaplan, Esq., who heads up the expert legal team for Poster Guard® Compliance Protection, answers questions about labor law posting requirements and discusses some lesser-known compliance facts business owners need to know.

Q: I run a construction business and my workers report to the work site, not an office. Am I still required to display labor law posters and if so, how do I do it?

Ashley: Even though your work space isn’t traditional, you aren’t off the hook. If the work site has a trailer or another structure with walls, you must post the required labor law postings. If there are no walls, consider another option such as a binder format. Make sure to include all of the federal, state and local postings in the binder, and update them whenever there are mandatory posting updates.

Q: Labor law posters take up so much space. Can they be delivered to my business electronically instead?

Ashley: Even though they take up a lot of wall space, the posters still must be displayed on your walls to comply with federal, state and local requirements. Electronic delivery isn’t a substitute for full-size labor law posters. There are a few limited exceptions where the government has said it is ok to post electronically (e.g., FMLA and USERRA postings), but ONLY if you communicate all other employee policies electronically and are certain everyone has access.

Q: What’s my risk as a business owner if my labor law posters aren’t up to date?

Ashley: Federal fines for posting violations were recently increased, exceeding $33,000 per violation. Not keeping up to date with postings also can affect the statute of limitations when it comes to employee lawsuits. Courts routinely hold that if an employee didn’t have notice of his rights, the employer can’t use the statute of limitations as a defense (or have the claim stricken or dismissed if it was filed too late). This has resulted in six-figure judgments in cases that could have been avoided or dismissed, just because an employer didn’t have labor law posters on the wall.

Q: I don’t have any workers who speak Spanish. Can I skip those labor law posters that are translated into Spanish?

Ashley: It depends where your business is located. There are 22 states that require businesses to display certain labor law postings in Spanish even if you don’t have any Spanish-speaking employees. There are also several city/county postings that have to be posted in multiple languages even if all of your employees are proficient in English. Keep in mind that Poster Guard automatically includes foreign language posters that are required for every employer as part of its regular English service. They are also automatically included in both our binder and electronic labor law posting solutions for remote workers.

Q: I own a restaurant and am wondering if there are any labor law posters specific to the food service industry?

Ashley: Ashley: Yes, there are. Food and beverage establishments have employee posting requirements in addition to the mandatory postings required for all employers. These requirements vary by state. Other industries with unique labor law posting requirements are healthcare and the public sector, as well as certain retail establishments. Government contractors also have additional labor law posting requirements.

Q: I’m a federal contractor. How steep are the penalties for failing to post the appropriate labor law posters?

Ashley: Not only are there steep fines, but you could also lose your government contract or funding. Contracts often contain language that the relationship can be suspended or cancelled if you fail to post.