In the United States, all businesses with one or more employees must display specific state and federal labor law posters. Labor law posters ensure that employees understand their rights in the workplace. Labor law posters also ensure that employees are aware of how to report a violation of those rights. Overall, employers must post these notices in areas frequented by employees during the workday. Such office space could include kitchens, break rooms, and office hallways.
While the number and type of required notices vary by state, all businesses must display specific federal labor law posters. Employers, however, may find it challenging to comply with these basic requirements. In fact, many businesses may be unaware of which labor law posters to display. Additionally, most online information does not cite specific posting regulations, the purpose of the notices, and potential penalties for non-compliance. As a result, Personnel Concepts has compiled a list of the five labor laws posters that every business must display to maintain notice requirements for labor law posters.
List of Labor Law Posters
1. OSHA “It’s the Law” Notice (or state equivalent)
Firstly, the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act assures “safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women.” Accordingly, the OSH Act achieves this by setting and enforcing standards. It also provides training, outreach, education, and compliance assistance. Additionally, the OSH Act created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) at the federal level. The law also provided that states could run their state-operated safety and health programs as long as they were as effective as the federal program. By and large, these programs are known as State Plans.
OSHA handles the enforcement and administration of the OSH Act in states under federal jurisdiction. The Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) enforces any safety and health standards related to field sanitation and specific temporary labor camps in the agriculture industry. Generally, any business subject to OSHA’s provisions must post, and keep posted, the “It’s the Law” notice. This requirement is dictated under 29 CFR 1903.2.
Markedly, OSHA can fine any employers found to violate this and other posting requirements for OSHA labor law posters up to $14,502 per violation. (This fine amount is up-to-date as of January 15th, 2022).
Generally, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988 (EPPA) prevents private sector employers from using lie detector tests in specific instances. This includes either for pre-employment screening or during employment, with certain exceptions. Employers also may not require or request any employee or job applicant to take a lie detector test. Additionally, employers cannot discharge, discipline, or discriminate against an employee or job applicant for refusing to take a test or exercising other rights under the EPPA.
The EPPA excludes federal, state, and local government agencies from its coverage regarding public employees. Meanwhile, the federal government may administer lie detector tests to specified employees of federal contractors. Specifically, these employees must be engaged in national security intelligence or counterintelligence functions.
Specifics About the EPPA
Explicitly, under 29 USC Sec. 2003, employers must post a notice listing the provisions of the EPPA. Generally, the EPPA notice includes limited exemptions that allow for the administration of polygraph tests (but no other lie detector tests) by private sector employers:
- The EPPA permits certain job applicants in specific fields to receive polygraph tests. These include security service firms (armored cars, alarms, and guards) and pharmaceutical manufacturers, distributors, and dispensers.
- Subject to restrictions, the EPPA also permits polygraph testing of certain private firm employees in certain scenarios. Specifically, it covers those suspected of involvement in a workplace incident. These incidents include theft, embezzlement, etc. However, the workplace incident had to have resulted in specific economic loss or injury to the employer.
- Where permitted under the Act, polygraph examinations are subject to strict standards concerning the conduct of the test. Standards cover the pre-test, testing, and post-test phases of the examination.
In addition, businesses must post this notice even if it does not use, or has never used, polygraph testing or lie detectors for employment purposes.
Finally, under 29 USC Sec. 2005, the EPPA allows the WHD to assess civil money penalties up to $23,011 against employers who violate any provision of the regulation.
Meanwhile, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards. These standards affect full-time and part-time workers. Specifically, this covers employers in both the private sector and federal, state, and local governments. The FLSA requires employers to pay covered nonexempt employees a minimum wage of not less than $7.25 per hour.
Generally, under 29 USC 211, 29 CFR 516.4, any business containing employees subject to the FLSA’s minimum wage provisions must post, and keep posted, labor law posters explaining the law. The labor law posters must be in a conspicuous place in all affected establishments. Even if an employer is located in a state that designates its own minimum wage, usually the employer is required to display both the federal minimum wage poster and state minimum wage provisions. Although there is no size requirement for the poster, employees must be able to read it easily.
While there is no statutory penalty or fine for failure to post the FLSA labor law posters, many recent wage and hour cases state that the penalty for failure to comply can extend an employee’s period of time to file suit. In short, employees alleging an FLSA violation have two years to file suit after the alleged violation. However, courts have applied a doctrine of “equitable tolling” in some instances. For instance, the extension allows the late filing of a fair claim if the employee was not made aware of their rights.
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) protects service members’ reemployment rights when returning from a service period in the uniformed services. In particular, this includes those called up from the reserves or National Guard. USERRA prohibits employer discrimination based on military service or obligation. Presently, the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) enforces USERRA.
Specifically, under 38 U.S.C. 4334(a), employers must provide to persons covered by USERRA a notice of the employee and employer rights, benefits, and obligations under the law. Employers may post the Your Rights Under USERRA notice with other displayed employer notices. Unlike other notices on this list, employers can choose to distribute a written copy of the notice to all applicants and new hires instead of posting it. Many businesses, however, find it easier to display this notice with other labor law postings.
Finally, as of the publication of this blog post, there are no citations or penalties for failure to notify employers of their USERRA rights. However, an affected individual could ask the DOL to investigate the matter and seek employer compliance. The DOL may also file a private enforcement action to require the employer to provide the notice to employees.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Chiefly, these laws cover all private employers, state and local governments, and education institutions that employ 15 or more individuals. These laws also cover private and public employment agencies, labor organizations, and joint labor management committees controlling apprenticeship and training.
In addition to discrimination prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, prohibits sex discrimination in the payment of wages to women and men performing substantially equal work, in jobs that require equal skill, effort, and responsibility, under similar working conditions, in the same establishment. This information is included on the “Know Your Rights” poster. Specifically, it applies to businesses covered by the FLSA, with 2 or more employees participating in interstate commerce.
Under 42 U.S. Code § 2000e–10, employers with 15 or more employees must post a notice describing the federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Specifically, this covers discrimination based on race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, equal pay, disability, and genetic information. Likewise, employers with 2 or more employees must post a notice promoting equal pay laws. Specifically, the “Know Your Rights” poster summarizes these laws. It also explains how an employee or applicant can file a complaint if they believe they have been the victim of discrimination. For this reason, the notice must be prominently displayed so that employees and applicants can readily see it for employment purposes.
Markedly, as of October 20th, 2022, the “Know Your Rights” poster replaced the EEOC’s “It’s the Law” poster.
Other Labor Law Posters
Additionally, some notices apply only to larger employers and/or businesses with federal contracts or who are receiving federal financial assistance. Examples of these kinds of labor law posters include the following:
Employee Rights and Responsibilities Under the Family and Medical Leave Act Notice (only for covered employers) –
The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) provides a means for employees to balance their work and family responsibilities. Under FMLA, employees may take unpaid, job-protected leave for certain family and medical reasons. The FMLA also requires that the employee’s group health insurance coverage is maintained under the same terms and conditions during the leave as if the employee had not taken leave. The WHD administers and enforces the FMLA for all private, state, and local government employees and some federal employees.
As stated under 29 CFR § 825.300, public agencies (including state, local, and federal employers), public and private elementary and secondary schools, as well as private sector employers who employ 50 or more employees in 20 or more workweeks (involved in commerce or any industry or activity affecting commerce, including joint employers and successors of covered employers), must post this poster.
Markedly, any willful refusal to post this notice may result in a civil money penalty not to exceed $100 for each separate offense.
Basically, every employer of workers with disabilities under special minimum wage certificates authorized by the Fair Labor Standards Act, the McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act, and/or the Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act shall display a poster prescribed by the Wage and Hour Division explaining the conditions under which special minimum wages may be paid. Generally, the poster shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the employer’s premises. It must be posted where employees and the parents or guardians of workers with disabilities can readily see it.
There is no statutory penalty or fine for failure to post the special minimum wage poster. But many recent wage and hour cases state that the penalty for failure to comply can extend an employee’s period of time to file suit. In short, employees alleging a violation under the FLSA have two years to file suit after the alleged violation. However, courts have applied a doctrine of “equitable tolling” in some instances. For instance, the extension allows the late filing of a fair claim if the employee was not made aware of their rights.
Federal Contractor Notices
In addition, federal contractors must post three notices at their workplaces or sites.
- Executive Order 11246 (E.O. 11246) prohibits certain federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment decisions based on specific protected classes. These include race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin. It also protects applicants and employees from discriminatory discipline, including firing, for asking about, discussing, or disclosing their pay or the pay of their co-workers. E.O. 11246 applies to federal contractors and subcontractors and federally assisted construction contractors and subcontractors who perform over $10,000 in government business in one year. E.O. 11246 also requires covered government contractors to ensure equal opportunity is provided in all aspects of employment. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) administers and enforces E.O. 11246.
Affected federal contractors must post the “Know Your Rights” poster and additional supplement. Markedly, as of October 20th, 2022, the “Know Your Rights” poster replaced the EEOC’s “It’s the Law” poster.
Finally, as of February 23rd, 2022, failure to comply with this posting requirement is subject to a penalty of $612 per violation.
- Federal contractors also must post the Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination Provision and include it in employee handbooks and manuals. This poster notifies applicants and employees of their rights, subject to certain limitations, to discuss, disclose, or inquire about compensation or compensation information. By the same token, contractors must post the Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination Provision. It shall be posted so that it is conspicuously available to all applicants and employees. Contractors, however, can either physically post this provision or provide it electronically.
Common State-Specific Labor Law Posters
Aside from the previously mentioned federal labor law posters, many states and municipalities have required labor law posters on the following subjects:
- State Minimum Wage, where required
- Workers’ Compensation
- Unemployment Insurance
- Employee Leave (paid or unpaid)
- State OSHA Plans (where required)
Employees need to ensure that they correctly meet requirements for labor law posters, both federally and locally. Also, employers should keep in mind that there are still requirements regarding labor law posters for remote workers. Basically, all workers who are remote still need to have access to required state and federal labor law posters.
Personnel Concepts’ Compliance Solutions
In conclusion, failure to comply with federal and state posting requirements can lead to fines and lawsuits. Employers must know what to post and how to provide that information to workers. To assist employers in guaranteeing labor law posting requirements, Personnel Concepts has created the following resources:
- Space Saver-1 (SS1) All-On-One State and Federal Labor Law Poster – The SS1 combines all required state and federal labor law posters in one poster. The poster includes minimum wage notices, discrimination postings, and state unemployment insurance information. Additionally, there are labor law posters for each of the 50 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico.
- Worry-Free Subscriptions – Our worry-free annual subscription services help you stay compliant with various requirements all year round. These include labor law posting requirements, employment laws, and other workplace compliance obligations. Comparatively, depending on your level of coverage, your business can receive automatic labor law poster updates, quarterly webinars with attorneys and other subject matter experts, attorney-reviewed lawsuit prevention posters, access to free compliance guides and checklists, and more.
NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.