Monday, July 16, 2012

What are Labor Posters, and What Are They Used For?

Labor laws are fairly basic across the globe. For instance, California businesses are required by law to prominently display a copy of the Federal labor law posters where they will be seen by all employees. Displaying federal labor law posters ensures that all employees will have adequate access to their rights and information they may need in case of workplace violations. In addition, California labor law posters must also be prominently visible for the same reason. One such poster that is frequently found in California is the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA), which protects migrant workers from harassment and protects their interests while working in the United States. The posters should be provided in a variety of languages such as Spanish, Hmong, Vietnamese, and Haitian, along with their English translation. Federal labor law posters should also include the terms of their employment, including wages, meals, transportation costs, housing terms, and other various charges. While there are no size requirements for the federal posters, size requirements are standard for the California labor law posters. California labor law posters should be at least 12 inches high and 10 inches wide and must be displyaed on all job sites and vehicles. 

According to the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA), their two main goals are: to improve access to employment and training programs, and to ensure that California businesses and workers have a level playing field to compete and prosper. To achieve those goals, strict compliance and adherence with both federal and state laws are essential. If a business is to be found in noncompliance with federal and state laws, they may be subjected to punitive fines and possible jail time, with compensation given to the affected employees.  Additionally, whistleblowers cannot be transferred, denied a raise, have their hours reduced, or be fired or punished. If someone suspects they have been discriminated against or punished for reporting a violation of the labor laws, they can contact the federal OSHA Area Office representative or a State Plan representative. Additionally, these rights should also be displayed on posters in a prominent position at the worksite. California is also the site of active agricultural labor unions. It is required that any company with a union also displays posters prominently with information about their union, union contact, and rights that are protected by the union. Actions can be taken against employers who violate these rules. One recent action involves the D’Arrigo Brothers, a major grower of vegetables in Salinas, with approximately 1,700 workers. 

According to papers, filed on behalf of the workers, the company's forepersons were charged with attempting to decertify the union. The company’s forepersons had been distributing petitions during work hours, which gave the reasonable impression they were working on behalf of management. Consequently, the company was found in violation of unfair labor practices, California Labor Code section 1153, subdivision (a), and interfering with employees' free choice. As a result, the judge ordered the decertification petition dismissed.

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