When it comes to labor law compliance, small business owners may not realize workplace postings are a federal and state requirement. For those people who are aware, they may think that putting up a few posters on a breakroom wall each year is sufficient. Unfortunately, it’s not this simple. Posting compliance is a complex undertaking that requires awareness, diligence and attention to detail.

Learn from the Mistakes of Others

As a small business owner, it’s not wise to assume that the rules don’t apply to you or that no one will investigate your company. This mentality leads to complacency, which may lead to significant fines and potential lawsuits that could shut down your operations. To help you better understand posting requirement complexities, let’s look at how small businesses often land themselves in hot water. Here are five common oversights with workplace postings:

Mistake #1: Assuming updates only occur annually.

The perception that once-a-year updates are sufficient is simply not true. When federal laws change, any one of the six federal posters must be updated. You’re also responsible for mandatory state postings. Depending on your state, this could add up to 15 additional posters — for a total of 21 federal and state postings per business location. Further still, you may have extra posting obligations if you’re in certain cities or counties. Poster changes occur sporadically at various times throughout the year — not just in January when most states and cities increase their minimum wage rates. You need to know when changes occur on the federal, state and local levels, and make sure your posters reflect these updates.

Mistake #2: Underestimating the impact of noncompliance.

Another common misconception is that fines are minimal should you get caught with outdated posters. Fine amounts are substantial, and these add up quickly if you have multiple violations. On 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 from $100 to $1,000 per violation. (Each posting carries its own fines because every agency and posting law is different.) Employers also face increased liability in employment lawsuits when they have not posted the proper notices.
You are required to post labor law posters when your business employs at least one employee besides yourself.

Mistake #3: Ignoring the possibility of getting caught.

While it’s true government agents typically don’t go door to door checking posters, you run the risk of a review should an agency visit for other reasons. It could be a Form I-9 audit, an OSHA inspection, an EEOC onsite investigation or even a Department of Labor (DOL) follow-up to an employee complaint. The complaint or investigation could be completely unrelated to labor law posters, but the agencies will check posting compliance as part of the visit.

Mistake #4: There’s no one-stop shop for free government posters.

Federal, state and local agencies often don’t work together, so there’s no central place or website for all the necessary posters you must post. About 175 agencies across the U.S. are responsible for issuing at least 380 mandatory posters. To manage posting compliance for just one business location, you would have to contact up to nine agencies for federal and state posters. On top of that, around 22,000 U.S. cities and counties have their own governing agencies and ordinances. Not all of them require additional postings, but many do — and this is becoming a growing concern for small businesses.

Mistake #5: Neglecting to inform remote employees.

As more and more small businesses rely on remote and telecommuting employees, they need a means to share the same labor law postings with them. By law, you’re required to provide mandatory labor law notices to employees whether they work on site or off-site. Regulations don’t specify the format, but it’s best to provide paper or electronic notices to all off-site employees.
On average, there are 150 state posting changes annually. Approximately 50% require immediate poster updates or replacements.

Cover the Bases with One Resource

As you can see, poster compliance is complex. Fortunately, professional services exist to reduce the hassles and ensure mandatory postings are always up to date. With the Poster Guard 1 Smart App, you’ll receive all the laminated posters you need to satisfy federal, state and local posting requirements, and automatic updates get shipped right to your door whenever regulations change.
Key Takeaways
  • Many small business owners aren’t aware that they’re required to display mandatory workplace postings.
  • In addition to federal postings, state, local and remote worker postings may apply.
  • You can’t obtain all the necessary postings from a single government agency.
  • Fines for noncompliance can have a big impact on small businesses.
  • A professional posting service can ensure you maintain the latest necessary postings.