Every state and the District of Columbia require that employers post certain information regarding employee rights in a conspicuous manner, and in a place accessible to and frequented by employees (and, in some cases, applicants or the public). These requirements are in addition to mandated federal postings for all employers and additional obligations for federal contractors or recipients of federal funds.
While some states offer convenient “all-in-one” poster options for employers, many others tend to be a bit equivocal with respect to whether a particular poster is required for all employers, required for some employers or merely recommended by a particular agency. In addition, the requirements themselves may be listed separately on various enforcement agencies’ websites, resulting in potential oversights by HR as to the total amount of required posters by state.
This may leave an employer in the dark as to its compliance obligations. Even if an employer has an accurate list of posters to display, obtaining the posters may also be challenging. While many posters are available online directly from a central state agency website, in some instances an employer may have to contact the enforcement agency or agencies in order to obtain the poster.
Legal Trends and Changing Requirements
Notice postings are not static requirements – they change often, and the modifications can be significant. In some states, posting information is updated on a regular basis (e.g., minimum wage adjustments effective on the first of January) and, therefore, must be updated by an employer as well. Posters reflecting newly passed laws may be required. Examples of new trends include:
- Human trafficking postings. Alabama, California, Hawaii, New Mexico (beginning July 1, 2014), Tennessee and Virginia all either require or recommend certain employers to post information regarding the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline.
- Municipal paid sick leave law posters. San Francisco, California and Newark, New Jersey are among the municipalities with paid sick leave laws that also require notice postings.
- Nonsmoking signage. As more smoke-free workplace laws go into effect, a greater proportion of employers will need to post nonsmoking signs.
Costs of Non-Compliance
Any resulting gaps in compliance can come at a cost: many agencies fine an employer that fails to adequately post all required notices. For example, a Wyoming employer that fails to post the state OSHA poster may be subject to a $7,000 fine. Similarly, a California employer not in compliance with state and local requirements may face thousands of dollars in fines.
Unlike other issues in employment law that may require an intense investigation by an enforcement agency and depend on witness statements and documentation, the failure to display a required poster is easy to prove. Therefore, an employer should do its best to remain compliant and reduce any potential liability risks.
XpertHR has just published a chart for every state and the District of Columbia that lists the required postings and links to the actual posters.
- Image via Wikimedia Commons.