Small Business: Proper Poster Placement: Make Sure Your Business Is In Compliance
December 6, 2008
By Philip I. Frankel, Small-Biz Focus, September/October 2008
This article first appeared in the September/October 2008 issue of Small-Biz Focus produced by Support Services Alliance, Inc. (SSA).
Most private employers know they are obligated to post information regarding their employees' rights pursuant to certain state and federal laws. Most companies provide this information on posters and place them in their cafeteria or other prominent place where employees gather. There are fines for failing to comply with poster requirements. As a result, employers are often scared that they are not up to date in compliance. However, compliance does not have to be complicated or expensive.
State and federal department of labor websites provide the latest poster requirements. In fact, these websites contain many free poster downloads. See http://www.dol.gov/osbp/sbrefa/poster/matrix.htm and http://www.labor.state.ny.us/workerprotection/laborstandards/employer/posters.shtm.
Additionally, the U.S. Department of Labor website offers a convenient First Step Poster Advisor to help employers determine which posters they must display. For example: Federal law requires employers to display the following posters:
- Job Safety and Health -- It's the Law
- Employee Rights Under the Fair Labor Standards Act -- Federal Minimum Wage
- Notice -- Employee Polygraph Protection Act
- Employers with over 50 employees must also display a poster titled "Your Rights Under the Family and Medical Leave Act."
Employers contracting with the government and those employing migrant or seasonal agricultural workers or workers paid at a special minimum wage must display additional posters and the "Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law" poster to those listed above. Also, federal law requires all employers to hand out a poster titled "Your Rights Under USERRA -- The Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act" to all employees entitled to rights and benefits under USERRA.
New York State law requires employers to display additional posters including:
- Discrimination Based on Race, Creed, Age, Color, Disability, National Origin, Sex or Marital Status is Prohibited
- Attention Employees -- Minimum Wage Information
- Notice to Employees -- Unemployment Insurance
- Notice of Compliance for Workers Compensation
- Notice of Compliance for Disability Benefits
(The last two posters listed above are supplied by an employer's insurance carrier.) State law also requires employers to display prevailing rate schedules on the sites of public works projects and public employers must display a poster titled "Job Safety and Health Protection" to supplement the federal poster on the same topic.
Keeping up with changes in applicable laws takes time, and carelessness or inability to do so may expose employers to liability for failure to comply with certain poster requirements. For convenience and peace of mind, there are many commercial companies that provide all of the posters into a single sheet for posting. However, attention should be made since many of these poster compliance companies often try to get employers to purchase posters they do not necessarily need. For example, some use tactics such as letters to employers warning them of new or changed laws and of threat of thousands of dollars in fines they will face if they do not order the posters immediately. Others will warn that a new minimum wage went into effect and such must be posted. Yet, the savvy employer will find that his current poster has the minimum wage increases on it for the next three years and therefore there is no need to purchase a new poster. Some changes do not necessitate any modifications in displays. A few minutes online will save employers both time and money.