(Editor’s Note: Today’s article is brought to you by our friends at Poster Guard® Compliance Protection, a division of HRdirect and the leading labor law poster service that gets your business up to date with all required federal, state and local labor law postings, and then keeps it that way — for an entire year. Enjoy the article!)
A few weeks ago, I shared with you some history about the term “Mind the Gap” and how we can use it in a business context. Especially when it comes to labor law posting requirements. We discussed “3 Employee Groups with Unique Posting Requirements”: applicants, Spanish language postings, and remote workers.
Today, I’d like to add another consideration we need to “Mind the Gap” about: every organization isn’t the same when we’re talking about labor law postings. Here are three industry specific labor law posting requirements that companies need to know.
Industry Gap #1: All businesses are not the same. Different industries have different posting requirements.
Currently, there are six federal labor law posters that most businesses are required to post.
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
- Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
- Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA)
Certain types of businesses have additional posting requirements. For example, given my hospitality industry background, I’ve known for years that some states require restaurants to post CPR and choking assistance information, notices for tipped employees, and information about alcohol service.
However, I didn’t realize that health care organizations might have up to 15 additional notices covering areas such as biohazard materials, radiation areas, and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Notice of Privacy Practices.
In addition, public-sector employee notices include whistleblower protections, right to know postings, and information about electronic monitoring. Government agencies also have their own unique versions of the OSHA and FLSA. My takeaway is that even when it comes to federal posting requirements, we cannot assume that all organizations are the same.
Industry Gap #2: If you have government contracts, don’t forget your Federal contractor postings.
According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the United States government spent $4.0 trillion (and that’s not a typo) in 2017. While a big piece of government spending goes towards programs like Social Security and Medicaid, billions of dollars end up with private sector companies. And as you would expect, a big chunk of those billions go to defense contractors.
However, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA), 23% of government contracts are targeted for small businesses. My point being, don’t make the assumption that only big businesses are federal contractors. Many different types of organizations have contracts with the government: financial institutions, technology companies, non-profits, auto dealers, retailers, service establishments, etc. If you’re a federal contractor, you have posting obligations. Here is just a sampling of the ten common federal contractor posters:
- Minimum Wage
- National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)
- Paid Sick Leave
- Pay Transparency Statement
- “EEO is the Law” Supplement
- Department of Defense (DOD) Fraud Hotline and Whistleblower
- Walsh-Healy Public/Service Contracts
- Davis-Bacon Act
- Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Highway Construction
- E-Verify/Right to Work
It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, the penalty for non-compliance isn’t just a fine. It could be losing your government contract. I’d like to think that, if your organization has a nice contract with the government, it’s worth your while to keep it that way (and maintain compliance).
Industry Gap #3: Companies that have their Federal and State postings, but not their industry specific ones, are still at risk.
Speaking of fines, it might be tempting to think that the organization doesn’t need to spend a lot of time worrying about the “poster police” because the company can simply pay the fine and move on. Someone might say, “So, what’s the big deal if the company doesn’t have their industry postings?”
First of all, let’s remember that the purpose of a labor law posting is to inform employees of their legal rights (and responsibilities) under federal, state, and local law.
I hate to admit it, but I’ve actually heard the chief financial officer of a company suggest not putting up posters because they were “ugly”. Thankfully, they came to their senses and realized they needed to focus on the purpose of the posting and their responsibilities as an employer.
The reason I wanted to bring up the ugly poster comment is because I’m not naive. I realize that organizations might have plenty of money to pay a fine. The question becomes do companies want to pay two fines? Six fines? Ten fines? I spoke with Ashley Kaplan, Esquire, senior employment attorney for HRdirect, and she told me that the fine for a federal notice violation could be as much as $35,000+ per location. So, let’s say that you’re an auto dealer with 4 locations that services government vehicles. That puts your risk potential at $140,000. Not to mention the negative public relations if job candidates and employees found out.
Labor Law Postings: Close the Compliance Gap
What amazes me about these posting requirements isn’t that labor law compliance is complex. Staying current with legislation is complex in general. The amazing part to me is that organizations don’t look for ways to make the process easier. In ComplyRight’s 2019 National Small Business Compliance Pulse Survey, 62% of small businesses rely on manual processes to manage these tasks.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Our friends at Poster Guard have a Labor Law Poster Service that will do it for you. Yep, that’s right. Poster Guard monitors labor law requirements (at the federal, state, and local level) and lets you know when things change. They also provide you with replacement posters every time there’s a change FREE of charge!
One of the first things I learned as a consultant was that just because I could do something doesn’t mean I should. Spending huge amounts of time on manual tasks keeps me from my clients. The same applies to other businesses. Organizations spending lots of time manually tracking labor laws keeps them from their customers and employees. That has a direct impact on the bottom-line.
P.S. Don’t miss our final article in this series where we will talk about the four key elements in developing a labor law posting strategy.11