Peacock Tales • Fall 2016

Don't Let Perplexing Posting Rules
Cause You Problems

By:  Barbara A. Graham

Business owners and employers are inundated with complicated regulatory requirements and recommendations with regard to working conditions and employee relations. The focus on significant substantive issues may lead businesses and employers to overlook one of their more mundane obligations which, unfortunately, may exacerbate other difficulties with their workforce or a specific employee: posting current labor law information in the workplace in conspicuous places. Business owners and employers must ensure that their federal and state posters are up-to-date.  The difficult part is determining which posters are required because employment laws change often and the posting requirements frequently change. In addition, care must be given to ensure that both the federal requirements and the Pennsylvania requirements are met.

Why is it so important that postings be updated to remain current and that they be posted in conspicuous places frequented by employees? Apart from the fines and penalties to which an employer or business can be subjected for  failure to do so, a disgruntled employee pursuing a labor claim against his employer may attempt to bootstrap his own claim, or to nullify the employer’s defense, by alleging that he was not aware of his rights because the required notices were never  posted. Or, an unhappy employee could simply call the Department of Labor to complain that the required postings are not displayed, or that the postings are not current. Such a call could trigger a compliance audit or other investigation, during which the employer could find itself investigated for more than failing to hang a few posters in the employee lunchroom.  And, in our experience, during such audits or investigations, the employer or business may not necessarily be permitted to involve an attorney in responding to the inquiries.

The mandatory postings in Pennsylvania are identified on the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry website, and include those relating to child labor laws, the minimum wage law, equal pay legislation, unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation, equal employment opportunities and fair lending and housing practices, and the Clean Indoor Air Act. Fortunately for employers, the posters are downloadable for free from links to the specific laws included on the website.

The Department’s website also includes a link to the employee notices which are required by federal law, many of which are free and are easily ordered from the federal website. These include references to statutes that address occupational safety, the rights of disabled employees, family and medical leave, federal overtime laws, veterans’ rights, etc.

We recommend that employers routinely review their compliance with these posting requirements, perhaps on a quarterly basis, or that they participate in a service which will advise them each time a posting notice is revised, or a new posting is required. And, of course, Peacock Keller’s employment attorneys remain available to answer specific questions from our clients about these notices.  

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