Tuesday, March 2, 2010

How many lines on a labor law poster can your employees read?

In almost any kind of workplace, there are at least few "official" posters. There might be an industry-specific safety poster. Odds are there's a minimum wage poster. And most businesses will have a number of small posters or one combination labor law poster covering relevant federal laws, regulations and guidelines. State labor law posters and even local labor law information posters may be posted in some areas, too.

That means that the average employee is presented with at least 2, and as many as a dozen posters at work.

Now for the big question...how many of them have they read? How often do they notice when the posters change to reflect new rules and laws?

Odds are, the answer is none. And never.

When most employees are questioned, they say they either just know that something is on the wall (or in the poster display case) or they've never really noticed the posters at all!

So we need to do some training! Why? Training employees on the how and what of labor law posters could:
  • Prevent injuries to the employees, to co-workers or to customers
  • Reduce the likelihood of lawsuits for missed or misunderstood benefits like FMLA or ADA accommodation
  • Reduce the amount of time HR staff has to spend explaining protections and obligations covered in the posters

Some tips and suggestions for good labor law poster training

Focus on:

The reason the posters are there
The reason reading them is important to employees (they may miss a benefit until it's too late, etc)
The locations for the posters
An overview of the content

Do not:

Read the entire poster set to employees, unless reading skills are an issue. The focus should remain on the employee's obligation to see and read this material. Reading it may also set you up for a future lawsuit if an employee claims "that's not what so-and-so said when they read it to us!"

This little training could yield big results for your employees and for your company.


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