If you are thinking of starting your own business, save this article. If you have ever opened your own business, this will be familiar to you: As soon as the Secretary of State approves your filing, will you will start getting junk mail. Lots of it. Every new business that forms is a matter of public record, and companies soliciting services and products will get the new business’s address from these public records.
Some of this junk mail will appear to be official. Obviously, do not ignore official looking documents, but perform a simple google search (or give us a quick call) if you are unsure about something you receive.
The topic of today’s article is “Required Posters for New Businesses” because there are companies out there that will send new business owners official-looking documents reciting federal and state laws requiring that new owners post certain posters at their business and selling said posters for $80 or more! The posters purposes are to notify employees of their rights under state and federal wage and safety laws. These solicitations also recite the fines businesses can receive (often in bold print!) for not posting these posters at the business office. These potential fines are meant to scare you into purchasing the posters. Some of the statutes and fines recited are not accurate. At the very bottom of the solicitation, in small, non-bold print, is a disclaimer from the company that they are not affiliated with the government.
Two main points here: First, your business may not be required to post ANY posters, and even if it is required, it may not be required to post ALL of the posters sold by the company soliciting your business. For example, newly formed businesses that do not have any employees are not required to post any posters. Family owned businesses where all employees are related are not required to post any posters.
Second, and most important, all of the posters can be printed for FREE on the federal and state Department of Labors’ websites. The federal Department of Labor has a step by step guide here: http://webapps.dol.gov/elaws/posters.htm. You start by entering information about your business and employees, and the Department of Labor will tell you what posters you need and how to download them for free! The North Carolina Department of Labor also has all of its required posters available for download for free.
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