Does My Business Need Bilingual Labor Law Posters?
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Are You Compliant with Spanish-Language Labor Law Posting Requirements?

6/3/2019
Regulations in over 20 states require labor law posters to be in English and Spanish, regardless of whether employees speak both languages.

It may not be top of mind, but are you aware of the foreign language posting requirements for your business? It’s an easily overlooked aspect of labor law posting compliance, but one that must be managed for total, gap-free coverage.

In today’s increasingly multilingual workplaces, you have an obligation to communicate information in languages that employees with limited or no English-speaking ability understand. And even if your workforce is entirely English-speaking, you may still need to provide English and Spanish labor law postings under state law.

Here is some guidance on foreign language posting practices under two primary scenarios:

Mandatory Spanish Postings Regardless of Workplace Makeup

Spanish is the second most-spoken language in the United States, as well as the fastest-growing language. The rise in Spanish-language labor law posting requirements is a direct reflection of these trends.

Currently, these 20 states — plus Washington, DC — require businesses to display certain labor law 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

Two important points to remember: 1) This state requirement exists even if you don’t have any Spanish-speaking employees, and 2) You may also need to display certain city/county postings in multiple languages, regardless of your workplace makeup.

Business Locations with Spanish-Speaking Employees

You don’t operate in any of the above states, so you’re free and clear, right? Not necessarily! Above and beyond state mandates regarding Spanish postings, you should assess your workplace to ensure you’re in complete labor law posting compliance. If you have a significant number of Spanish-speaking workers in your organization who don’t speak English proficiently, you’ll need to display federal postings in both English and Spanish. This is because of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). It is required by law for the FMLA poster.

But what is a “significant number”? Because the law isn’t clear on the matter, you must use your best judgement. A best practice is to display federal postings in Spanish if they affect 10 percent or more of the staff at any given location.

You’ll also want to address your state postings if you have Spanish-speaking employees. Except for Pennsylvania, no state law requires you to display every state poster in English and Spanish (even if you employ a lot of Spanish-speaking workers). However, most employers who are required to display federal posters in Spanish also choose to post state postings in both languages. This ensures complete communication of posting information, which can provide an added layer of protection in a legal dispute.

Bilingual Poster Protection with Poster Guard® Compliance Protection

When it comes to mandatory labor law postings, nothing short of 100% compliance will protect your business from the risk of government fines and employee lawsuits. This includes foreign language posting requirements. With Poster Guard Compliance Protection’s base service, you receive Spanish-language postings in all 20 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, if you prefer.