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Are online labor law posters better? Not in these three situations


New Jersey’s Division on Civil Rights recently tried to make it easier for employers to comply with workplace posting requirements. Whether or not they succeeded remains to be seen.

As of August 1, 2022, businesses in the Garden State can display the state’s Law Against Discrimination and Family Leave Act postings on an internet or intranet site rather than on a physical wall.

While at first glance online posting seems to simplify things, there are strings attached:

  • All employees must have access to the site
  • Employers must customarily post notices for employees on the site
  • The law does not apply to the 13 other state postings New Jersey businesses need to display, and
  • An updated posting needs to be downloaded and saved whenever the official employment poster is updated

In some respects, downloading and placing a labor law poster online is easier than using a printed version of the poster. This may be especially true in this case, where the printed posters have additional requirements: They must be at least 8 ½ by 11 inches in size and contain text that is fully legible and large enough to be easily read.

However, online posting is not always the best solution. Here are three situations where it falls short:

1. Employees don’t use computers

Not every worker can easily access online posters. Those in manufacturing settings, on construction sites, or working outdoors may not routinely use computers. They may also work in a location where internet access is unreliable.

A cornerstone of posting compliance is making sure postings are readily available and easily accessible. If the work setting means online posters can’t check that box, then online posters aren’t a substitute for the paper version.

2. Employers who don’t like messing with their website

Whether posters are online or on the wall, they need to be updated whenever a mandatory posting change occurs. This means employers need to stay on top of any changes and download and post a new version when it’s required. Making sure the current version is visible needs to be a priority.

In addition, because online posters must be easily accessible, site design makes a difference. The poster link should be easy for employees to find and workers should not have to ask for permission to view them.

3. Employers with physical posting obligations

Each state, federal, and local posting is required under a different law, and the majority of these laws were written before the internet became a common communication tool. As a result, very few laws allow online posting to fulfill posting requirements.

The recently updated New Jersey civil rights laws are an exception. Employers in the state still need to display physical posters relating to minimum wage, sick leave, temporary disability benefits, employee misclassification, and other topics. Employers in other states have similar requirements.

In addition, employers in all states need to display federal posters. The Department of Labor allows online posting to fulfill an employer’s posting obligations only when all employees work remotely and have easy access to the online postings. They must be told how to access posters electronically.

If employees come into the office, physical posters are required. If the employer has some remote workers and some who come into the office, online posters can supplement physical ones at placed at the worksite but can’t replace them.

Way of the future?

It’s possible that more state and federal agencies will follow the lead of the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights and allow for electronic posting. However, this won’t necessarily simplify compliance.

All employees must be made aware of all their rights, and employers need to make sure this happens. Whether posters are in physical or electronic format, employers need to make sure posters are current, accessible, and easy to locate.

Key to remember

Although a few laws allow employers to fulfill labor law posting requirements with electronic postings, employers must make sure all employees have access to the required posters. In many cases, laws require physical posters to be displayed at a worksite.