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Is your small business compliant with current labor laws?
September 1, 2005
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Columbia, Md. -- With Labor Day approaching to pay tribute to the American worker, employers are reminded that compliance with
all labor laws that promote the spirit of hard work and enterprise is not only well-warranted but can help prevent them from incurring any penalties. 

That's because 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."

However, according to Fiducial, few small firms 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. This also comes at a time, Lindenmann notes, when employees are becoming very savvy about their employment rights.

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 your 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 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 be sure you are in 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 you should have for your industry.

 
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