Most business owners know about OSHA and the penalties that are involved when there is an injury incident at the workplace. OSHA takes workplace injuries very seriously. In 2015 President Obama signed the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act which requires the DOL to annually adjust its civil monetary penalties every year to account for inflation and to increase the deterrent effect. In 2020, these fines range anywhere from $13,494 to $134,937 per violation.
What most companies do not realize, though not as serious as the OSHA workplace penalties, is there could be penalties associated with not posting the proper workplace notices. There are Federal postings and state postings, and fines vary depending on the posting and the agency that requires the posting.
You can also avoid the worry and pre-order your 2021 labor law posters today.
Federal Labor Law Postings
According to the Dept. Of Labor’s website (www.dol.gov), the required postings and the penalties for not posting for most businesses at the Federal level are:
Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) Posting: shall not exceed $13,494
Employee Rights Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA/MINIUM WAGE) Posting: No citations or penalties for failure to post
Employee Rights and Responsibilities Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Posting: 50 or more Employees – Willful refusal to post may result in a civil money penalty by the Wage and Hour Division not to exceed $100 for each separate offense.
Equal Opportunity is the Law (EEO) Posting: 15 or more employees. Appropriate contract sanctions may be imposed for uncorrected violations.
Employee Polygraph Protection Act Notice (EPPA) Posting: The Secretary of Labor can bring court actions and assess civil penalties for failing to post.
Your Rights Under USERRA Notice/Poster: No citations or penalties for failure to notify. An individual could ask DOL to investigate and seek compliance or file a private enforcement action to require the employer to provide the notice to employees.
Posting requirements vary depending on a number of variables such as:
- Number of employees
- Public or private business
- Federal or subcontractors
- Agricultural employers or businesses who hire migrant or seasonal agricultural employees
- Employers who hire persons entitled to rights and benefits under USERRA.
State Labor Law Postings:
Postings required for the state and local levels vary. Each posting could carry its own fine. Every state agency and law are different. Fines can range anywhere from $100 – $1,000 per violation. Some examples of state postings include:
Workers Compensation Notices: A Notice of Compliance or Workers Compensation Notice is given to each business that carries Workman’s Compensation. Some states require this notice to be posted. This protects the employers by verifying the availability of workers comp and gives current insurance information for healthcare providers at the time of injury when claims must be reported and what to do in case of an accident.
Sexual Harassment Notices: Sexual Harassment laws have become more prevalent in recent years. Many states are adopting strict guidelines concerning the basic rules to be adhered to, training required and protections to be in place to protect both employees and the employer. Along with notices having to be posted, some states require documentation to be given to the employee at time of hire.
Discrimination Notices: Discrimination is another area that has seen an increase in states posting additional guidelines about discrimination in the workplace. The Federal Law prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, or sex. Some states are now adding age, pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions, sexual orientation, gender identity marital status, and in some states, hair styles and hair textures.
Examples of other state notices would be unemployment insurance, child labor laws, human trafficking, right to know laws and earned income laws.
Employers are required to follow both federal law and applicable state laws. Sometimes different government agencies enact laws regarding the same issues or situations. Some examples where this has occurred include minimum wage, paid family leave, and discrimination laws. The U.S. Department of Labor instructs employers and employees to follow the law that provides the most protection.
Failure to display the correct state and federal employment law notices can also result in penalties, fines, and lawsuits. All of these notices must be “conspicuously placed” and “readily accessible” to employees.
Are there required inspections for Workplace Labor Law Notices?
The state or federal government rarely sends out someone just to inspect your place of business to see if you have the proper notices. If an agency, for example OSHA, is at your business because of a workplace injury, or to investigate an employee complaint, the agency could check posting compliance as part of the visit and assess any additional fines. If there is an employee complaint about sexual harassment or discrimination, the state agency, during the investigation, could check workplace notices and determine if fines are applicable.
Not only does having the proper postings keep your business from being fined. There are also other advantages for having your labor law posters up to date. Some postings, such as the Federal Discrimination posting, has a statute of limitations for filing a claim (300 days) or FLSA overtime case (two years), so if you are up to date on your postings, you could potentially request to have the case removed. On the other hand, if you do not have a posting or it is outdated, the courts could say the statute of limitations does not apply because you did not notify your employees about their legal rights and responsibilities.
National Safety Compliance is committed to keeping you up to date on the most recent federal and state changes and posting requirements for your business. The information contained in this blog cannot be considered as legal advice. It is provided for general information only. Contact the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) or your state’s Labor Department or agency for legal advice.