Even if your company has only a few employees, a number of federal laws require you to display labor posters in your workplace which inform employees and applicants about relevant employment laws. State laws have their own requirements, so keeping on top of your workplace poster obligations can seem like a daunting task.
If you're concerned that your poster wall may not be in compliance with the laws that apply to your business, check to see whether you're making any of the following mistakes:
Mistake #1: Posting the Wrong Posters
Federal Poster Requirements
A good place to start your poster inspection is with the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) online Poster Advisor, an interactive tool which can be used to determine the poster requirements of several federal laws administered by the DOL. Posters, available in English and other languages, may be downloaded and printed directly from the Advisor at no charge.
For those employers participating in E-Verify, the Internet-based system that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the U.S., two posters in English and Spanish must also be displayed in plain view at the employer's hiring site(s).
State Law Posters
For state labor poster requirements, the U.S. Small Business Administration offers a state contact list to obtain information on the workplace posters that are required in each state. Some states also require certain employers to display industry-specific posters, so be on the lookout for special poster obligations that may apply to your business.
Check these federal and state sites frequently, as changes in your company (such as an increase in the number of employees) may trigger new poster requirements.
Mistake #2: Posting Outdated Posters
Workplace posters are updated from time to time to reflect changes in the law, an agency's change of address or for other reasons, so make it a regular practice to check whether the posters displayed in your workplace are the most recent versions available. For federal posters, the DOL offers a useful chart containing the latest revision date for many common federal workplace posters. Your state labor office should also be consulted regularly for updates to state labor posters.
Mistake #3: Posting the Wrong Size Poster
A workplace poster isn't useful unless it can be easily read by your employees. Many of the agency links to the posters your workplace is required to display contain specific information regarding a poster's size. If you have any questions regarding the required size of a poster, contact the DOL or your state labor office.
Mistake #4: Hanging Posters in the Wrong Place
Workplace posters must generally be displayed in a prominent location where all employees can see them, but some posters may have special location requirements. For example, covered employers must post the federal Family and Medical Leave Act poster in a conspicuous place where both employees and applicants for employment can see it. Check for specific requirements for the posters you are required to display and choose each poster's placement carefully.
For More Information
Keep in mind that federal and state workplace posters are generally available at no cost to you, either as a download or as a print copy mailed directly from the agency in charge of the poster. For more federal poster information, check out our section on Federal Poster Requirements. Visit our State Laws section (click on Posters in the left-hand navigation) for the posters required in your state, including many industry-specific posters that may apply to your business, most of which are downloadable right from our site!
And don't forget to download our Personnel Recordkeeping Guide--a great resource for keeping up-to-date with your federal recordkeeping obligations.
Image Credit: Victor 1558