Sunday, September 18, 2011

Disregarding Federal Labor Law Posters Can Be Costly

With constant overlooking and debate over rules and regulations stated on the federal labor law posters, one small mistake can prove to be costly. Although there are various similarities when looking over these safety posters in a work environment, each and every statement or policy written serves a purpose. Nonetheless, sometimes what the policy specifies can cause headaches and confusion with debates that are arguably hard to justify. From an employee stand point, how does one distinguish whether or not a discrimination regulation listed on a federal labor law poster has been violated? Unless the employer voluntarily admitted or spoke of his/her intentions, is there solid proof that such policy has been crossed? Let’s take a look at one of the largest private employers of the nation where 1.5 million former and current female employees of Wal-Mart files a class action lawsuit alleging gender discrimination has been violated.

New York labor law posters state that unless otherwise provided by law, it shall be unlawful for any employer or employment agency to refuse to hire, employ or license, or to discharge from employment or otherwise discriminate against an individual in compensation, promotion or terms, conditions or privileges of employment because of gender. This well-known policy is not only seen on New York labor law posters but is stated on most if not all federal labor law posters throughout the United States. The plaintiffs alleged that mega-store Wal-Mart discriminated against their female employees when it came down to equal opportunity pointing out that equal pay and/or promotions were unfair. The problem lies in the vast majority of individuals who all have different experiences and standards in order to reach a commonality to begin with. The only written policy on the federal labor law posters that was relevant was one that prohibited all forms of discrimination. Some safety posters in a different state could have underlying statements to pinpoint the argument. Basically Wal-Mart is arguing the fact that there is no hard evidence of any policy violation common to all of the plaintiffs. This is a case where the mega-store clearly understands the rules and regulations of its New York labor law and New York labor law posters alike whereas the employees could not pin-point any significant proof from any safety poster they may have read stating details of the violation. The Supreme Court ended up agreeing with Wal-Mart pointing out that employees had insignificant proof of such violation under the federal labor laws and its safety posters.

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