“My salon owner insists that labor law posters aren’t required in salons. She thinks they’re ugly and doesn’t want to put them up in the break room. I agree that they’re ugly, but we’ve been friends for years, and I’m worried she’ll get into trouble for not having them up. Is she right?”
Salons are not exempted from federal law, which requires the Fair Labor Standards Act poster outlining employee rights, The Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law (EEO) poster, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA) notice, and a handful of others depending on the circumstances, the state, and the organization itself. The salon may be exempted from some posters (for example: FMLA posters, USERRA posters, federal contractor/subcontractor posters), but definitely not all of them.
To determine which posters the salon requires, the Department of Labor has a handy Poster Advisor tool. For state poster requirements, state websites typically provide a list of their poster requirements also.
Posters must be displayed where both employees and applicants can see them.
If you accept online job applications, the Department of Labor indicates that employers should place a prominent notice on their job posting site stating that “Applicants have rights under Federal Employment Laws,” which should be linked to three postings: Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO), and Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA).
Putting these links online is not a substitute for posting them on the salon’s premises.
Required posters must be located in an area where employees frequent on a daily basis, like break rooms, lunch rooms, conference rooms, employee lounges, kitchens, or near a time clock. So, putting them up in the salon owner’s office may not be acceptable. If the salon has more than one location, unless the employees visit all locations regularly, the posters will have to be displayed at each. They also can’t be placed in a binder, even if that binder is available to all employees.
The posters also can’t be resized.
Laws require that posters be of a certain font size and minimum paper size to be compliant. If your salon employs workers who predominantly speak Spanish, you may be required to post notices in Spanish as well as English.
The following states require an employer to fill in information on some state posters, regarding company-specific information like emergency phone numbers, payday information, or worker’s compensation policy information: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Washington. In addition, employers in the District of Columbia must also add information to their poster.
The penalties for failing to post required notices are no joke and can result in fines up to $17,000.
- The penalty for violating the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) posting requirement is $7,000.
- An employer who violates any provision of the federal Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988, including the posting requirement, faces a fine of up to $10,000.
- The penalty for failing to display the Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law posting (required for employers with 15 or more workers) increased to $210 in 2014.
- Employers with 50 or more workers are required to display the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) notice, and the penalty for willful refusal to display it is $100.
- State posting requirements can also carry penalties. For example, failure to display the Cal/OSHA safety and health protection poster carries a $7,000 fine.
On average, there are 150 posting requirement changes each year, and half of them require mandatory updates. The government typically doesn’t notify businesses when these changes occur, but they expect you to be compliant.
Services are available to small business owners who don’t have time to stay on top of compliance, or who don’t want to risk non-compliance. Personally, I have no experience with these services, since keeping on top of compliance is both my weird hobby and an important part of my job responsibilities, but it may be worth the money for a salon owner who doesn’t have the time or desire to keep up with all those changes.
For more information on workplace posters, read this article from the U.S. Small Business Administration. In the meantime, tell your salon owner to get over her aesthetic aversion to the posters and put them up as soon as possible. It’s better to be safe and wallpaper the break room than risk being punished for noncompliance.