Both the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government require employers to display state and federal labor law posters in every employer facility in a location where both employees and applicants can view them.
Many employers place their posters in employee break rooms or other locations visible to employees, but not to applicants. If applicants for jobs cannot see the posters, then the employer has not met the posting requirements imposed by federal and state law. Therefore, employers should review the location of the posters to be sure that they are visible at a location where job applicants are asked to complete applications (if done at the workplace) or where job applicants are interviewed.
It is also important to keep the labor law posters current. Recent changes in the law relating to same sex marriage, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and other employment related laws may require changes to the labor law posters, particularly those that are more than a year old.
Failure to display the labor law posters properly can result in a fine or civil penalty. But a court in a case imposed a penalty that could have even more far-reaching consequences. The court held that where an employer failed to post the notices required under the Age Discrimination and Employment Act, the employer could be sued by the employee for violation of the Act even though the applicable Statute of Limitations (limiting the time within which suit must be filed) had expired. The court held that the purpose of the posters is to make employees aware of their rights, and therefore, in the absence of a poster, the Statute of Limitations does not begin to run until the employee obtains actual knowledge of his or her rights or until he or she retains an attorney. The failure to display employment law posters may expose employers to potential stale claims that would otherwise be barred by the passage of time.
As we bring in the New Year, now may be a good time to check to make sure that your labor law posters are up to date and posted in a proper location.