At first blush, labor law posters seem fairly simple and straightforward. All you have to do is put them on the wall, right?
However, conflicts in federal, state, and local laws can lead to a lot of confusion. After all, some of these legal mandates may apply to certain types of employers but not others.
It can be incredibly difficult to sort through which federal, state, and local laws and requirements apply to your company. You also have to stay up to date about where to post, what the correct size poster is, and how often you need to update your labor law posters. And you may also be wondering whether you need labor law posters in both English and Spanish.
No matter which laws apply to your company, it’s important to understand the relevant requirements and protect yourself legally, especially if some of your employees speak Spanish.
The Rules for Displaying Federal Labor Law Posters in Spanish
No law says that all employers must post Spanish versions of the mandatory federal labor law posters. But businesses subject to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) must display this poster in both English and Spanish if a “significant portion” of workers are only literate in Spanish. The law does not define a “significant portion,” but it’s a good idea to display a Spanish FMLA poster if at least 10 percent of your workers speak Spanish as a first language.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration also recommends posting its workplace poster in Spanish if companies have Spanish-speaking workers. The same is true for the Department of Labor with its Fair Labor Standards Act poster.
State and Local Requirements for Labor Law Posters in Spanish
Many states publish labor law posters in multiple languages. But not all states require them to be posted. Some U.S. states and Washington, D.C. have passed laws requiring organizations to display certain labor law posters in Spanish — even if they don’t have any Spanish-speaking employees. Other states offer posters but have requirements that are less clear.
For example, Florida has published Spanish versions of its minimum wage, unemployment compensation, discrimination, and workers’ compensation posters. Given the number of Spanish speakers in Florida, it is advisable to display these posters in Spanish as well as English, even if they are not specifically required for your workplace.
New York builds in Spanish translations on its discrimination notice and workers’ compensation posters. It also requires employers to provide the state minimum wage poster in English as well as an employee’s primary language. So, if you have Spanish speakers, they must receive a Spanish version of this poster.
In other states, if you employ a certain percentage of Spanish speakers, you may be required to display labor law posters. For instance, check out these states’ requirements:
- California: The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing requires employers to display labor law posters in Spanish if at least 10% of their workforce is Spanish-speaking. And the California Department of Industrial Relations requires employers with employees who speak and read only Spanish to post the Spanish version of the California minimum wage notice.
- Massachusetts: If at least five employees speak Spanish, employers must post the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act poster in Spanish. The state offers several other posters in Spanish, and it would be wise to use the five-employee threshold as a rule of thumb.
- New Mexico: Employers must post Spanish versions of the human trafficking notice and paid sick leave poster if at least 10% of workers speak Spanish.
Even if you are not subject to a specific legal or regulatory requirement, it is still a good idea to display posters in both English and Spanish if you have any Spanish-speaking employees so you can make sure that everyone is on the same page and avoid any argument that you did not provide the required notice to employees.
Why and How to Comply With Spanish Posting Requirements
Organizations without any Spanish speakers will become rarer as time goes on. According to the 2019 U.S. Census, 13 percent of U.S. residents speak Spanish at home. And the United States has the second-largest population of Spanish speakers in the world — even more than Spain and trailing only Mexico. So now is the time to start planning to meet these requirements, even if you don’t legally have to.
The goal is to ensure that Spanish-speaking workers understand their rights under relevant federal and state laws. Displaying posters in Spanish supports this goal. Plus, featuring Spanish labor law posters helps your company avoid liability in the event of a misunderstanding or miscommunication. If a Spanish speaker files a claim stemming from their inability to understand their rights, your organization could face an uphill battle in court or with a government employment agency.
If you have questions about labor law posters, we’re here to help. We have a large selection of federal and state labor law posters, including workplace and safety posters, translated into Spanish. Check out our list of Spanish state labor law posters here, and contact us if you need more information.