September 7, 2021
Quick Guide to Labor Law Posters: 7 Common Questions

Whether you just hired your first employee, have converted to a fully remote workforce, or simply haven’t reviewed your labor law posters in a hot minute, it’s always a good time to audit them and ensure you are compliant.

Federal labor laws require specific types of employers to post specific notices. We know, that’s a lot of specifics. That’s because requirements vary based on factors like your industry, workplace, size, location. And while it may feel a bit overwhelming, it’s crucial to maintain updated posters—if not, your company could be slapped with some hefty fines.

We’ve put together a quick and easy guide for employers answering seven frequently asked questions about labor law posters to eliminate some of your stress. Read on for key answers and resources.

1. Who needs to post labor law posters?

This varies by each U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) statute. Not all employers are covered by every law, so certain employers may not be required to post a particular notice. Some small businesses may not be covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), for example, so they would not be required to post the FMLA notice.

To find out which posters you must post, visit the DOL’s Poster Advisor. The DOL does not provide guidance on state poster requirements, so be sure to check with your state Department of Labor to learn about your state’s requirements.

2. Where can I find federal labor law posters?

Posters are available from the DOL at no cost to employers. Check the DOL Poster Topic page for a list of all Federal labor law posters available for download. You can also call 1-866-487-2365 to request them via mail. Up to five of each type of poster can be sent to you for free.

Again, check with your state Department of Labor for your state’s posters. 

3. Where do I need to post workplace posters?

General guidelines from the DOL state that posters must be displayed in conspicuous places where they are easily visible to all employees, such as break rooms or lobbies.

Three federal workplace posters must also be placed in conspicuous areas where both employees and applicants can see them for employment. They are the:

  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): FMLA-covered employers must display this poster in all locations, even those where there are no FMLA-eligible employees.
  • Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO): The DOL states, “Federal contractors and subcontractors covered by Executive Order 11246 must also post the notice where it can be readily seen by representatives of each labor union with which the covered contractor or subcontractor has a collective bargaining agreement.”
  • Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA): Employers must place this notice in a prominent and conspicuous place in every location where employees and applicants can readily observe it.

4. What are the size requirements?

Federal regulations only specify a size for the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) poster and Executive Order 13496 poster. The DOL states that all other federal workplace posters need to be easily readable.

You can download them all in the proper size for free on the DOL Poster Topic page linked above. 

5. How often do I need to update labor law posters?

Hundreds of labor law changes occur each year, and many of them require employers to display updated posters. The tricky part for employers is that both federal and state agencies can make labor law changes at any time and often do so without notifying employers. 

Review federal and state requirements regularly to ensure you have the most up-to-date workplace posters and remain compliant. You will need to cross-reference the print date on your posters with the list of notices on the DOL Poster Topic page.

6. Do nonprofit organizations need to post workplace notices?

The DOL states that an organization’s nonprofit or for-profit status generally has no bearing on whether they have to post notices. Even a church with just one paid employee must post some workplace posters.

Certain organizations that use only unpaid volunteers and may be exempt from federal poster requirements. To ensure your volunteers qualify, contact the  Wage and Hour Division toll-free at 1-866-487-9243. 

7. What about remote businesses and organizations?

Posting required labor law posters and communicating this critical information is a growing challenge as many businesses turn to telework. 

Earlier this year, the DOL released new guidance for remote workforces, with distinctions based on one-time versus continuous notices and partially versus completely remote workforces: 

  • One-time notice requirements: Employers may satisfy these by email delivery if employees routinely receive emails from the employer.
  • Employers with some remote employees: Physical posters for continuous notices are required for onsite employees, while the DOL encourages electronic posting for telecommuting employees.
  • Employers with all-remote employees: These employers may satisfy continuous-posting obligations via electronic-only means if all employees only work remotely, routinely receive information from the employer via electronic methods, and have readily available access to the electronic posting at all times.

Note that employees must be able to access electronic notices without requesting permission via an internal or external website or a shared network drive or file system. You must notify remote employees of where and how to access electronic notices.

Some businesses post job openings online and only interview applicants on the phone or virtually. The DOL advises these employers to place a prominent notice on their site where the job postings are listed, stating that “Applicants have rights under Federal Employment Laws” and linking to the FMLA, EEO, and EPPA posters. Again, this is permissible as long as the applicants have readily available access to the electronic posting at all times.

It may seem like just another chore, but maintaining updated federal labor law posters is a vital HR responsibility that keeps your company compliant, promotes workplace safety, and reduces risk. 

Do you have specific questions about workplace notices and labor laws? Contact BlueLion today at 603-818-4131 or to learn more!

The information on this website, including its newsletters, is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should contact an attorney or HR specialist for advice on your individual situation.