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Neglecting Workplace Posting Requirements Carries Serious (and Costly) Risks

11/26/2018
Non-compliance with labor law posters can lead to potential fines

Most employers know they must display certain labor law postings outlining worker rights. Even still, they may think:

“Government fines are so small, it’s no big deal if we don’t post.”
“There are no poster police out there … so how would I even get caught?”

Beware! If you’re underestimating the importance of posting compliance – or ignoring the requirements altogether – you could face significant financial and legal complications. It comes down to government penalties and litigation risks, both of which could seriously impact your business.

The Basics of Labor Law Postings

Avoiding the risks associated with labor postings begins with knowing your obligations. Federal law requires six separate postings for all U.S. businesses (five for businesses with less than 50 employees). State laws add to that number — up to 15 depending where your business operates. Further still, you may have to display as many as 10 additional city/county postings.

Complicating the matter is that postings are issued by multiple agencies. The postings also change frequently, but the government typically does not notify businesses when changes occur.

Staying current with labor postings is time-consuming … but it’s a responsibility that must be managed to avoid fines. The amounts are steep — and they can add up quickly if you have violations at multiple locations. On just the federal level, fines can be more than $34,000 per location for posting violations. On a state and local level, the government posting fines are typically between $100 and $1,000 per violation. (Each posting carries its own fines, because every agency and posting law is different. )

Labor Law Posting Violations Can Lead to More Than Fines

Fines are the beginning. Missing or outdated postings can significantly increase your exposure in employment litigation in two ways:

  • Statute of limitations — The statute of limitations is a big advantage for employers because it allows you to dismiss a claim that was filed too late. For example, the statute of limitations for a federal discrimination claim is 300 days. For an FLSA overtime case, it’s two years. So, typically, if your business gets a claim from a former or existing employee outside of the established time period, you can move to have it dismissed.

    But problems can occur if there’s a posting violation. If you have an outdated poster — or no poster at all — the courts may decide that the statute of limitations doesn’t apply because you didn’t notify employees about their legal rights and responsibilities in the first place. You can’t use it as a defense, and the case may move forward against you.

  • “Bad faith” — Another way posting compliance comes into play is as evidence of “bad faith.” This term refers to an intentional, dishonest act by not fulfilling legal obligations. A finding of bad faith can directly affect your damages in an employee lawsuit — either by inflating a damage award against you or standing in the way of a good-faith defense that would otherwise reduce or eliminate your damages.

In federal discrimination or harassment lawsuits, this may come into play as punitive damages, issued in addition to damages for back and front pay, emotional distress and legal fees. They are typically the largest portion of a plaintiff’s total settlement. Without good faith, employers may also have to pay “liquidated damages” in suits involving laws such as the FLSA and the Equal Pay Act (EPA). This essentially means damages are doubled.

Noncompliance: Not Worth the Risk

Clearly, it’s more important than ever to meet labor law posting requirements. Given the magnitude of legal exposure and other negative consequences associated with noncompliance, it’s not worth the risk to ignore or cut corners with the requirements.

Poster Guard® Compliance Protection gets your business up to date with all mandatory labor law postings — and keeps it that way for an entire year. We guarantee our posters are 100% compliant with all federal, state and local regulations; if you’re ever found out of compliance, we pay the fines. It’s a level of coverage that protects your business and extends valuable peace of mind.

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