(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 little history about today’s image. “Mind the Gap” is a warning phrase used to advise passengers to take caution when crossing the spatial gap between a train door and station platform. It was first introduced in the 1960’s on the London Underground. So, my take is the phrase is designed to remind us to maintain safety in an area where we probably already feel very comfortable.
Today’s topic is exactly why I wanted to share a little bit of history about “Mind the Gap”. It’s very easy to dismiss warnings about labor law posters with “Oh, we have all the right ones.” or “There will be headlines everywhere when our posters need to be updated.” Not true. While I’m not saying that government agencies are out to catch businesses that aren’t in compliance, it’s important to realize that in today’s “signal and noise” world, there’s no guarantee that labor law poster updates are going to automatically move into the trending topics section of your favorite social media platform.
So, in the first article of a three-part series, I want to talk about how labor law posters have some unique requirements for certain employee groups.
Group #1: Postings for Job Applicants
Gap #1: Don’t Assume Labor Law Postings are Only for Employees
We have a tendency to think of labor law postings as being just for our employees. Truth is, four of the six mandatory federal postings apply to applicants as well. There are also state and local requirements. Physical postings must be displayed for applicants that come into your office for pre-employment interviews, testing or any part of the application process. By law, applicants must be able to view these federal postings in your business:
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA)
- USERRA – Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (also known as USERRA and recommended as a best practice because the law applies to applicants)
And if your organization accepts online applications, there needs to be a way for applicants to view them there too. In an article on the ApplicantStack blog, 98% of Fortune 500 Companies are using applicant tracking systems (ATS), 66% of large companies use ATS, and 35% of small companies. As more organizations look to technology to help them automate their processes, they need to think about compliance.
Group #2: Spanish Language Postings
Gap #2: Don’t Assume Spanish Language Postings Only Apply When You Have Spanish Speaking Employees
As of July 1, 2017, the U.S. Census reports that the Hispanic population of the United States was 58.9 million, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority. There are ten states with a population of more than one million Hispanic residents: AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, NJ, NM, NY, and TX.
Twenty-one (21) states and territories are required by law to have certain labor law postings in English and Spanish, regardless of the composition of the workforce. Additional laws apply if you have locations with a significant number of Spanish-speaking employees who are not proficient in English. Those locations must post certain federal labor law postings in both English and Spanish. Though not mandatory, it is in your best interest to display all of the state posters in English and Spanish in those locations as well.
Organizations cannot make the assumption that, if they do not have Spanish-speaking workers, they don’t need Spanish language posters. They also cannot assume if they have bilingual employees that they don’t need Spanish language labor law postings just because those employees also speak English.
Group #3: Postings for Remote Workers
Gap #3: Don’t Assume that Labor Law Postings are Only for Office Environments
According to the small business funding site Fundera, over 3.7 million employees work from home at least half of their time. That’s roughly 3% of the entire U.S. workforce. If you’re thinking that doesn’t seem like a lot, keep in mind this represents a 115% increase in telecommuting since 2005.
Working from home is popular for several reasons. It reduces the costs for commercial office space, decreases our carbon footprint, and makes employees more productive. In an article from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), telecommuting employees are more productive and save companies billions.
Organizations with a remote workforce need to audit their processes to ensure everyone has access to labor law postings. Some recent U.S. Department of Labor opinion letters and court cases have determined that electronic notices are a reasonable alternative for remote works.
Close the Compliance Gap with Your Labor Law Postings
I’d like to think that most employers know they need to have labor law postings. But I can also see organizations forgetting to “mind the gap” where postings are concerned and forgetting to take the extra caution that needs to take place with applicants, Spanish language postings, and remote workers.
But the good news is that organizations don’t have to spend hours researching this information. 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!
Frankly, this is a no brainer for me. As a human resources professional, I have so many other things I need to spend my time on than researching labor law posters. Personally, I would much rather have a professional service do what they do best, which frees up my time to recruit, engage, and retain the best employees.
P.S. Stay tuned for part two in this series when we talk about how different industries require different labor law postings. In the meantime, you can test your labor law poster knowledge with Poster Guard’s Mind the Gap quiz.16