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(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!)
I recently shared with you some history about the term “Mind the Gap” and how we can use it in a compliance context, especially when it comes to labor law posting requirements. We discussed the “3 Employee Groups with Unique Labor Law Posting Requirements” mentioning remote employees, job applicants, and Spanish language postings.
Today, let’s add another consideration we need to “Mind the Gap” about. Every organization isn’t the same when we’re talking about labor law postings. For instance, here are three industry specific labor law posting requirements that organizations 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, regular HR Bartender readers know I have a hospitality industry background. I’ve known for years that some states require restaurants to post information about alcohol service, notices for tipped employees, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and choking assistance information.
However, I didn’t realize that health care organizations might have up to 15 additional notices covering areas such as biohazard materials, radiation areas, overtime rules, and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Notice of Privacy Practices.
Even when it comes to federal posting requirements, we cannot assume that all organizations are the same. Some public-sector organizations are required to post employee notices on whistleblower protections, right to know postings, and information about electronic monitoring. Government agencies also have their own unique versions of the OSHA and FLSA postings.
Industry Gap #2: If your organization has government contracts, don’t forget federal contractor postings.
According to the U.S. Treasury Data Lab, the United States government spent $6.82 trillion (and that’s not a typo) in 2021. While a big piece of government spending goes towards programs like Social Security and Medicaid, billions of dollars end up in private sector companies. And as you would expect, a big chunk of those billions go to defense contractors.
However, according to report from the Congressional Research Service, 23% of government contracts are targeted for small businesses. My point here is that we can’t make assumptions 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, then you have additional posting obligations. Here is just a sampling of the most common federal contractor posters:
- Davis-Bacon Act
- Department of Defense (DOD) Fraud Hotline
- Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Hotline
- Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Highway Construction
- “EEO is the Law” Supplement
- E-Verify/Right to Work
- Minimum Wage
- National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)
- Paid Sick Leave
- Pay Transparency Statement
- Walsh-Healy Public/Service Contracts
And I know 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 maintain compliance and keep the contract.
Industry Gap #3: Organizations 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?”
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.
Sad to say, but I’ve 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 mention 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 Lillian Chavez, Esquire, compliance attorney for HRdirect, and she told me that the fines for a federal notice violation could be as much as $38,000+ 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 more than $150,000. Not to mention the impact on liability in an employment lawsuit, and negative public relations if job candidates and employees found out.
Close the Labor Law Posting 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. Yes, 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 mandatory change FREE of charge!
When I became a consultant, one of the first lessons I learned 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.
Now is a perfect time to make sure the organization closes their compliance gaps. Check out Poster Guard’s latest on-demand webinar on “Labor Law Compliance Requirements Employers Often Overlook”. It’s filled with reminders that all organizations need to stay compliant.22