Small Business Compliance with Current Labor Laws

Labor Day pays tribute to the American worker. What better time to remind employers that compliance with all labor laws promotes the spirit of hard work and enterprise and is not only well-warranted but can help prevent expensive penalties.

Companies that do not keep current with constant changes to federal, state and OSHA labor law postings risk being cited for non-compliance, says Fiducial, an international provider of professional business services to small businesses and individuals.

"Entrepreneurs must take steps to protect themselves from possible lawsuits and non-compliance by posting the required federal and state labor law posters," says Meredith Lindenmann, Fiducial's human resources manager. "To do this they must be aware of what must be posted and any change in labor laws due to legislative action or administrative rule changes that affect workplace postings."

Few small firms, however, have HR personnel or a safety officer to ensure that the required postings are up and are current or to stay on top of law changes. And with employees becoming very savvy about their employment rights the risk is increasing for many firms.

There's always a risk that an employer will be faced with an audit that could result in penalties and fines for non-compliance. If an employee sues an employer for any reason, the attorney may check to see that required postings are properly displayed in the office. The employer will have a difficult time proving that they are in compliance when they have failed to post the necessary labor law posters.

Since it's both federal and state law, staying in compliance is a positive message to employees. "It will prove that as a business owner, you care about your employees and want to do what's right," the HR manager said.

Although there are a number of regulations, there are some common misconceptions that can be easily clarified, and Lindenmann offered the following helpful pointers:

  1. Postings should be displayed not only for employees but also where job applicants can read them. The law requires employers to display their posters at a location that all employees visit at least once per day such as a break room, lunch room, time clock or job site. Federal postings should be posted where either job applications are filled out or where prospective employees are interviewed. If they are not in that area, applicants would have to be taken to a location where they are displayed. This pertains to all labor law postings.

  2. Employers are still required to post State and Federal Minimum Wage Laws even if none of its employees are paid minimum wage. Failure to post these required notices could cost your company up to $17,000 in fines. Missing posters can place a company at-risk for fines from $100 to $7,000 for non-posting violations.

  3. The Employee Polygraph Protection Act and the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) postings are required to be posted in job applicant areas or lobbies if this is where applicants fill out an application to advise them of their rights under these laws. The Employee Polygraph is in regards to the right of an applicant to refuse to take a "polygraph" (lie detector) test. The EEO is the law posting that protects the applicant against possible discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Americans with Disability Act of 1990, Age Discrimination Act of 1967, Equal Pay Act of 1963, Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. Failure to ensure full compliance with these posting requirements can result in fines and may be used against the company in court if a discrimination lawsuit is filed by a rejected applicant.

Start-up businesses should be sure to get their compliance obligations off on the right foot. The quick and easy way to ensure compliance with posting requirements is to check with compliance experts who can inform and supply you with the required labor law postings to meet the requirements of your state, federal and OSHA postings along with any specialty postings for your industry.

There is never an excuse for employers not being compliant. Are all your company's human resource policies up to speed?

Written by Fiducial. Find out by scheduling a business review with Fiducial professionals now. Visit Fiducial online for the Fiducial office nearest you and other free help, tools and resources to help your business grow and be profitable.

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