U.S. Department of Labor Poster Compliance: What’s Required in Your State?

State and federal laws require businesses to post notices in an area frequented by employees. Find out which posters your business is required to display.

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Editor’s note: Please note, this article is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. 

You may not think much of the posters about workplace safety or being an equal opportunity employer you see in the breakroom, but these posters are required to be displayed by the Department of Labor.

As to which state requires which posters, the answer is: it varies.

Different states have different requirements and statutes.

For example, certain small businesses may not be covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), so they wouldn’t be bound to its requirements.

In addition, in some cases, there are no penalties or citations for failing to put up the poster, but in other cases, the U.S. Secretary of Labor can bring about court actions or civil penalties for inaction.

Which posters are required in each state?

Zenefits provides a comprehensive list of posters required by each state.

The link will direct you to the requirements for each state and optionally link to printable forms in various languages that can be printed off free of charge for display at the worksite. You can also find forms specific to federal workers and contractors which have their own specific requirements.

In addition, not every employer is covered by each one of the Department of Labor’s laws, so not all employers will need to post a certain notice.

It depends on a variety of factors, including:

  • Where the company is located
  • The nature of the business
  • The number of employees and more

Beyond that, some states may have their own workplace poster requirements. It’s a good idea to check out the Zenefits website link to find out which federal and local labor poster laws need to be displayed for your particular place of business.

What are the purposes of these posters?

The posters are designed to inform and remind employees of their rights in the workplace. While this is by no means an exhaustive list, the most common U.S. Department of Labor posters you may see at your workplace include:

    • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA): This act establishes the minimum wage and overtime pay as well as record-keeping and child labor standards for both government and private-sector workers.
    • The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): Allows up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to an eligible and covered employee for certain conditions including:
      • Childbirth and childcare or placement of an adoption or foster child with the employee
      • Care of an immediate family member, such as a spouse, parent or child due to a serious health condition.
    • The Occupational Safety and Health Act: Requires employees to comply with occupational safety and health standards. The act ensures a workplace free of recognizable hazards that could cause death or serious injury.
  • Equal Employment Opportunity:  Officially known as Executive Order 11246, it prohibits employers from discriminating against employees when it comes to hiring decisions because of their race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or national origin. In certain conditions, it can also prohibit employees from taking adverse action against applicants or discussing their pay or sharing information about their pay with coworkers or colleagues.

Although these are some of the more well-known U.S. Department of Labor posters that you’re likely to see on the job site or at your workplace, it is by no means a complete list. There are special regulations for federal contractors and subcontractors as well as migrant workers.

Overall, there may be dozens of laws and requirements, and the Department of Labor doesn’t provide advice with regard to which posters need to be displayed and by whom, making it even more important to stay up-to-date regarding your company’s compliance in your state.

Where should the posters be displayed?

Posters must be displayed in a common area where employees can see them, such as in a cafeteria or break room. If you have remote workers, it’s a good idea to share labor poster documents via the company intranet. The good news is that the Department of Labor can provide these posters free of charge, as well as printable and PDF versions that you can download and share.

No matter what type of work you do or what business you’re involved in, it’s a good idea to ensure that your workplace meets the proper regulations for the display of posters to keep employees and workers in-the-know. Not doing so could subject the company to fines and penalties, so stay informed and stay involved to ensure everyone is safe and protected.

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