A while back, I wrote about a Connecticut law that requires employers to post about the services of the Office of Healthcare Advocate and about one company that sells such a poster, Progressive Business Compliance

But the question is often asked, are these workplace posters that available for sale by companies like PBC, useful and worthwhile to purchase in general?  My response is "Yes" with a small "but" attached to it.     

What do I mean? Well, as I’ve said before, the companies that prepare the workplace posters do provide a valuable service by combining the posting requirements under various state and federal laws into one poster. These "5-in-1"s or whatever number that is chosen, are then printed in an easy to read format and are often laminated to preserve their appearance. For this reason, spending money on the posters is an easy call for many employers.  

Certainly, companies like Progressive Business Publications (which also goes by the name Progressive Business Compliance) or G.Neil can fill that role well.   Indeed, a number of attorneys that I know have used posters from both of these companies for years without incident and I haven’t seen or heard about any specific posters that they sold that did not comply with the law.  I certainly wouldn’t discourage employers from using these services, even with the cost involved, because for many employers it is "worth it" to have easy-to-use posters prepared by someone else. 

And before people get too up-in-arms about companies making money off their product, it’s not like these companies are alone in charging for items that the goverment otherwise makes available free to the public. For example, LEXIS and Westlaw charge people for using their services to find and locate court decisions published by the courts, or legislation passed by the goverment. 

Moreover, simply because you can get the materials for free elsewhere does not, in my view, provide a sufficient reason for ignoring these companies either.  They’re not government agencies (nor do their websites pretend to be) but they make it their business to do their best to understand each state and federal law.

But here is my small reservation about using these companies (or companies like these): Employers should not rely on their services as the exclusive source of their information, nor for advice. 

If an employer is investigated by the Department of Labor about its postings, it won’t really do the employer much good to say that they merely relied on what another company told them to do. Rather, each employer has an independent obligation to ensure that they are complying with the applicable laws.

So, how can an employer do that AND still take advantage of the services offered by the workplace poster companies? Work with a qualified and experienced human resources professional or an attorney to ensure that all of its posters and polices are up-to-date.  Also figure out what state and federal laws actually apply to them.   Once the employer performs such an assessment, then reach out to the poster companies. 

Maybe they will even cut a volume discount.