While not as exciting as the arrival of new yellow phone books once was, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced yesterday that it has created a new poster outlining employees’ federal employment rights. This new creation is meant to replace the old “EEO is the Law” poster many employers have had hanging in employee breakrooms for years.
The EEOC describes its new poster, Know your Rights, as reflecting a plain speech approach to employee education. It gives information to employees clarifying that pregnancy and related conditions, as well as sexual orientation and gender are all protected categories with rights to be monitored and enforced by the EEOC. And in case your employee wants to quickly access the EEOC website and file a charge, a handy QR code is included on the face of the poster.
Does this mean you have to throw away that old, giant poster? No, it just means you will have to add this new poster to the mix. This is just one of many postings employers must maintain, so it might be becoming a crowded spot.
For example, the Department of Labor (DOL) has many mandatory posters including FLSA notices, Job Safety and Health-It’s the Law and the ever-popular annual posting of the OSHA Summary of Work-related Injuries and Illnesses (Form 300A). And don’t forget Employee Rights under the FMLA, the USERRA rights poster, and the Notice of rights under the Employee Polygraph Protection Act. If you use e-verify there is a posting for that as well.
Not to be outdone, the Oklahoma DOL has a few mandatory posters as well. These include: Your Rights Under the Oklahoma Minimum Wage Act; Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Notice and Instruction to Employers and Employees; and Oklahoma Unemployment Insurance Benefits Notice.
How do you keep up? Routine review of the EEOC, DOL and OK DOL websites are a good place to start. Be sure to post these notices conspicuously where employees will easily see them. Now that all these notices are readily available for print and can be downloaded there should be no excuse for not posting. If you have more than one location and employees do not routinely come to headquarters, you should have postings at each location available for employee review. This is where electronic posting can come in quite handy. If you have an online bulletin board for your employees these notices should be there as well.
What else should you have on your bulletin board? While this may leave little room for bake sales and advertisements, you are probably best off not letting anybody post on your bulletin boards whether electronic or cork. The National Labor Relations Board directs that once you let one person or group post, whether electronic or otherwise, you generally have to let everyone post. You may not like some of what you will see and hence not letting some groups post can lead to administrative headaches and even claims of discrimination or retaliation.
If you have any questions about what posters should be posted, or where they should be placed, be sure to consult with your employment law legal counsel. Better to get it right now, then have to explain to a federal investigator or auditor later why your company did not properly inform its employees of their collective and individual rights.