You know you need to ensure that your small business diligently follows labor laws, but it’s also important to communicate them to your employees.
That’s why the federal and state governments require employers to display official posters outlining these laws in an easy-to-access location for employees to view. The U.S. Department of Labor supplies the necessary signage on the federal laws to businesses that request them. However, posting out-of-date posters or not displaying them properly can lead to fines. There are also state-law posters that you’ll need to display, and these of course vary by state.
Federally Mandated Posters
Under federal law, businesses are required to display:
- The Equal Employment Opportunity poster, which outlines laws prohibiting discrimination in the workplace.
- The Fair Labor Standards Act poster, stating minimum-wage provisions.
- The Family and Medical Leave Act poster, which lays out laws requiring employers to provide certain types of unpaid leave and explains how employees can file a complaint.
- The Notice to Workers With Disabilities/Special Minimum Wages, for employees with disabilities paid under the Fair Labor Standards Act or other laws.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Act poster, outlining workplace safety standards required by law.
- The Office of Labor-Management Standards Union Member Rights poster, which highlights the rights of unions.
- The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act poster, which states the responsibilities of civilian employers toward service members.
All of these posters and an explanation of businesses’ responsibilities are available at the U.S. Department of Labor’s website, which offers a tool that specifically lays out the exact posters your business is required to post by law (this only covers DOL-administered provisions).
For state-based laws, each state establishes their own set of required posters. Most of these are similar from state to state, such as posters outlining information about the state minimum wage, workers’ compensation laws and unemployment insurance.
Some states, however, have unique requirements. In Nebraska, for example, employers must display a poster detailing the Workplace Privacy Act, which protects employees’ right to online privacy. Meanwhile, Ohio has specific signage requirements for its Workplace Domestic Violence law, and organizations in Hawaii must post the state’s Required Notice to Dislocated Workers/Plant Closings.
Check the website for your state’s Department of Labor to see what specific posters you’ll need to display beyond those that are federally required.
Labor laws don’t change just because an employee doesn’t work in the office. For example, many construction workers report to a jobsite each day and may not have an office or break room to access such forms.
State laws differ on poster requirements in these instances, but in most cases, employees are given paper or electronic documents containing the required information. Employers may also need to provide handbooks explaining the laws, in addition to posting the necessary signage in the business’s main office or HR department.
Streamlining the Process
Luckily, your first to-do in obtaining the necessary posters is simple: Just visit the state and federal Department of Labor websites. To make matters even easier, the federal posters are available in an all-in-one version, with each required notice on the same laminated sign, so your employees can view the information they need at all times. Most states offer the same service, as do third-party suppliers.
If you take the right steps and utilize the resources that will set you up for success, your small business should have no trouble making sure employees stay posted on how labor laws affect them.
This content is provided solely for informational purposes. It is not intended as and does not constitute legal advice. The information contained herein should not be relied upon or used as a substitute for consultation with legal, accounting, tax and/or other professional advisers.
Sandy Baker is a full-time freelance writer specializing in health, personal finance and Internet marketing. Her long-term history online has included publications with companies including Marriott Hotels, The New York Times and dozens of other small and medium-sized businesses. She is also published in print with award-winning books such as The Complete Guide to Estate Planning, Complete Guide to Early Retirement, The Complete Bankruptcy Guide for Consumers and Small Businesses and The Complete Guide to Organic Lawn Care.