Labor Law Posters: What Small Businesses Should Know
This article is part of a larger series on Hiring.
Labor law posters are the compliance notices employers must post to let employees know their rights under federal and state employment laws. If you don’t display these compliance posters in a conspicuous place, you risk fines and lawsuits.
You can access labor law posters from your state’s department of labor. For federal posters, you can view options on the US Department of Labor (DOL) website.
Labor Law Poster Requirements
Every company with at least one employee must display these compliance posters. The DOL helps employers understand how to stay compliant—you can access its FirstStep Poster Advisor, which asks you a few questions and then tells you which posters you need to display.
While the DOL makes clear that employees must be able to read and understand the posters, there’s no requirement to post notices in a language other than English except for FMLA compliance. However, this only covers federal requirements. Every state has their own compliance poster requirements, which we will cover in more detail below.
Information Conveyed by Compliance Posters
Federal and state labor law posters provide similar information. In most cases, they even appear similar. However, in states where employment laws differ from and exceed federal minimums, the content may be tremendously different. Make sure your posters contain information on the following topics to ensure they meet compliance requirements:
- Federal minimum wage
- State minimum wage
- Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
- Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA)
Compliance Note: Workers’ compensation and unemployment benefits information are not generally covered on a federal labor law poster. You’ll need to get these posters from your insurance company or state department of labor.
Where Posters Must Be Placed
Labor poster compliance requires that you display the posters in a conspicuous place where they can be seen by all employees. Most companies put their labor law posters in a break room or cafeteria. A great place to put them is near the coffee or water, as most employees frequent those areas of your workplace.
If you operate multiple work locations, you’ll need duplicate posters to place at each location. For companies that operate large facilities, like a warehouse, you may also need to place posters in more than one spot to stay compliant.
When you receive your labor law posters, you’ll need to post them as they are. They’re large, so many companies want to resize them to make them smaller. You cannot do that for some posters, and it’s generally not a good idea to do it for any. If the font becomes too small to read, you may be out of compliance.
Job Applicant Posting Requirements
You need to ensure that some of your labor law posters are also displayed for job applicants—specifically, EEOC, FMLA, and EPPA. This is just one of the many rules you need to follow while interviewing and hiring.
With most job applications and even interviewing happening online, how do you meet this requirement when hiring employees? Make sure your public job ad states that applicants have rights under federal and state employment laws. You can use language like this:
This company is an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE). All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran.
It’s also a good idea to link out to the federal job posters provided by the DOL. This ensures you’re meeting the requirements and providing applicants with access to all the information they need.
When Posters Need to be Updated
While labor laws don’t change too often, it’s best practice to update your compliance posters every year. Updates to labor laws will require you to change your compliance posters as soon as possible—especially for major changes to laws, like increased minimum wage or overtime calculations. If the federal or state legislation changes, new compliance posters will be issued and you’ll need to swap yours out.
Remote Work Posters
Because so many workers now work remotely, the DOL issued updated guidance on compliance posters. The update includes information on both hybrid and remote workforces.
For hybrid environments—where you have some employees working fully remote and some who come into a physical workplace—you’re required to display physical labor law posters as always. Your remote workers will still need to be provided with access to the labor law posters, so you’re advised, but not required, to provide electronic access.
If your company is fully remote, you can satisfy the posting requirements by providing electronic access to your employees, only if the following conditions apply:
- Every employee works remotely 100% of the time
- You routinely provide employees with information by electronic means
- All your employees have access to electronic posting
If you meet all of those requirements, then you may provide electronic labor law posters. You must ensure, however, that you alert your employees to the location of the compliance posters and direct them to review their rights. Otherwise, the DOL may consider you out of compliance.
Compliance Note: For electronic access of labor law posters, email is not sufficient. Compliance posters are a continuous requirement, so you must display the posters in an electronic fashion that doesn’t go away, like your internal company intranet.
Penalties for Noncompliance
The EEOC is charged with enforcement and punishment of businesses that do not comply with labor law posting requirements. If your company mistakenly or intentionally fails to properly display labor law posters, you could face stiff penalties:
- FMLA violation: $189
- OSHA violation: $14,502
- EPPA violation: $23,011
- EEOC violation: $612
Per federal law, these penalties increase for inflation every year. While companies usually only get fined for repeated violations, the government may fine you for the first violation, so you need to make sure you’re following the rules.
Government fines aren’t the only concern for not posting. Once employees can prove posters weren’t adequately displayed, they could file a lawsuit and may receive additional damages because of your company’s noncompliance.
One of the most common labor law poster violations relates to overtime pay. If you don’t provide your employees with notice about federal and state overtime laws, you’re subject to government fines and employee lawsuits. Your employees could get additional damages due to your company’s noncompliance.
State Labor Law Poster Requirements
Expand the sections below to find the required notices in your state and a link to further information.
Labor law posters are one more compliance issue small businesses need to stay on top of. Luckily, staying compliant with labor law posters requires less effort than other matters. Make sure you have updated labor law posters available for all employees to view so you avoid costly fines and employee lawsuits.