Whether you’ve just opened a new fitness business or you’ve owned one for multiple years, you likely continue receiving these strange notices in the mail:
“Buy these workplace posters to display around your gym or be penalized with hefty fines and lawsuits.”
The jargon is usually wordier than that…
…and almost always accompanied by nice images of labor law posters selling for up to $350 a pop.
They tend to look like spam, but often come with scary enough verbiage to make you take a second look.
So, what’s the deal with these labor law posters? And do you need to buy them?
The answer is mixed. Labor law posters are required by every workplace in the United States – so, yes, you need them. But you certainly don’t need to buy them at $350 / poster. In fact, you could get away with printing them yourself for free if needed.
By the end of this article, you should have a better idea of what labor law posters are and the best way to go about displaying them at your fitness business.
Let’s dive in.
First things first, what are labor law posters?
To explain labor law posters, we first need to tackle the labor laws themselves.
Labor laws are just that: laws to regulate employment in the United States. These laws protect the employee at multiple levels of the government such as federal, state, and local municipalities.
Federal labor laws cover everything from discrimination prevention, to salary requirements, the rights of military members, to even the use of lie detectors in the workplace.
While state and local laws provide additional protections for employees. For example, some states require paid family leave, while others do not.
So again, what are labor law posters?
Labor law posters are exactly that: posters that display your employees’ legal rights in the workplace per the relevant federal, state and local requirements for your business.
Labor law posters need to be hung in clear, prominent places around your fitness studio to ensure your employees are acutely aware of their rights at all time.
And like the scary spam flyers say, failure to do so will result in hefty fines and imminent lawsuits against your fitness business. These large pieces of paper have quite a lot of power in the workplace, so it’s best to make sure they are done right.
Researching your labor laws
Well it sounds simple, right? Look up your federal, state and local labor laws and throw them on a poster to hang up?
Not quite. Unfortunately, it takes time to figure out which laws apply to your business industry, depending on city and state. The size of the business may also be a factor to which laws are relevant.
States like California have infinitely more protections for the employee than states like Texas, so the amount of research (and poster size) will greatly increase.
Additionally, there are location requirements for individual laws.
For example, at the federal level:
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Poster (Minimum Wage Poster) must be displayed/posted by employers in a conspicuous place in all of their establishments to permit employees to readily read it.
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) Notice/Poster (PDF) (“Your Rights under USERRA”) is to be posted where notices to employees are customarily placed. However, employers may instead distribute the notice to employees by direct handling, mailing, or via electronic mail.
And if that isn’t enough, labor laws can change annually, meaning you’ll need to continually stay on top of the employment laws for your business type, local area, state and business size.
Between city and state differentiations, as well as business size, type, and ongoing modifications, you can begin to see it’s not as simple as throwing a few homemade posters up around the gym.
But it’s not impossible.
Buying your workplace posters
As mentioned previously, do not buy from the flyers you get in the mail when you first open your business.
These solicitations use overpriced scare tactics to scam you out of your hard earned money!
You are most likely going to change posters every year, so paying $200+ each time is reckless. You can find laminated, ready-to-go posters for much cheaper.
We recommend our clients use Labor Law Center* for state and federal posters. It’s the easiest and cheapest service we’ve found.
Simply select your state and pay $29.95 for an accurate, up-to-date labor law poster:
They also have local posters for various cities and counties as well.
These guys do all of the hard work for you. Simply select what you need, check out, and receive a laminated poster in the mail.
Here’s a sample of what they look like:
We told you California has a lot of laws.
Once you receive them in the mail, hang the posters in areas that are frequented regularly by employees, such as in the staff area or front desk. It’s not important that your members see them – the laws only apply to employees.
To save even more money, it is possible to create the state posters yourself by using the Department of Labor’s website. They provide links to each state’s specific regulations, of which you can copy and paste to create the poster yourself.
However, we think it’s probably easiest to just pay the $29 and remove the stress from it all. Any reasonably priced shortcut to removing stress for new fitness business owners is usually well worth it – and that’s coming from an accountant.
*No, we are not affiliated with Labor Law Center in any way – we just think it’s the best option out there.
Are there exceptions?
Not really. Even if you are running a virtual gym at the moment, you still need to hang up or send out labor law posters.
There are several federal laws that mandate workplace posters must be displayed, regardless of employee count.
And even if employees are not currently on premises, they still need to be made aware of the employment laws for your workplace.
Action: We recommend emailing out the up-to-date labor law posters and asking for written acknowledgement via email by each of your employees.
This should cover you legally until the team is back on site.
Finally, is there anything else I should know?
I think we’ve covered most of it.
Labor law posters are not the most exciting part of business, but they’re certainly necessary for every business.
- • Do not buy overpriced posters
- • You can create free state posters by using the Department of Labor website
- • We recommend using Labor Law Center to buy premade, laminated posters for $29
- • You’ll most likely need to change the posters every year, however some states allow every two years
- • Make sure posters are hung in a visible, commonly frequented spot
- • Email your current labor laws to any employees working remotely
- • Posters are still mandatory even if you don’t have employees
- • Do not buy overpriced posters – did we say that?
If you run into any problems, feel free to get in touch with us any time. We’re happy to help decipher whether or not a special mail offer is spam (it probably is) or double confirm that you’ve done everything correctly.
As a disclaimer, we are not a human resources or law firm. For the best legal advice, we recommend consulting your labor attorney. However, we are happy to help where we can, as we’ve dealt with labor laws in the fitness industry for many of our clients.
Until next time!