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By the numbers Featured

6:56am EDT October 30, 2001
What hangs on the walls in your company?

You should have at least one conspicuous area dedicated to national and state employment law postings.

Triggers for the most common employment laws include the number of employees, but many of the laws apply to all businesses, even if you have only one employee. Here are some examples (contact information, if posters are required, is listed in parentheses).

* Ohio Minimum Fair Wage Standards Law -- Requires employers to pay a minimum wage and overtime pay after 40 work hours during the work week. The law also requires that employers with gross revenue between $150,000 and $500,000 place a poster in the workplace. (Ohio Department of Commerce, Wage and Hour Bureau, 644-2239)

* Fair Labor Standards Act -- Covers minimum wage, overtime pay and federal child labor requirements, in addition to equal pay for equal work. This federal law applies to all employers engaged in interstate commerce with gross receipts of $500,000 or more. The act requires a covered employer to post employees' rights. (U.S. Department of Labor, www.dol.gov)

* Employee Polygraph Protection Act -- Prohibits most employers from using lie detector tests for either pre-employment screening or during the course of employment. There are limited exceptions. (U.S. Department of Labor, www.dol.gov)

* Ohio Workers' Compensation Law -- Every Ohio employer must post its State of Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation Certificate of Premium Payment and is subject to Ohio Workers' Compensation laws.

* Ohio Unemployment Compensation Law -- Every for-profit Ohio employer must pay unemployment compensation taxes to fund unemployment compensation benefits to employees who are discharged from employment without just cause or who quit their employment for just cause. (Ohio Department of Jobs & Family Services, 466-4568)

* Occupational Safety and Health Act -- Provides job safety and health protection for workers by promulgating safety and health regulations for the workplace. (OSHA, www.osha.gov)

* Ohio Minor Labor Law -- Applies if the employer has any employees under the age of 18. (Ohio Department of Commerce, Wage and Hour Bureau, 644-2239)

* Uniform Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act -- Requires employers to provide military leave and re-employment to those returning from military service.

* National Labor Relations Act -- Gives employees the right to support and join unions and other ''protected, concerted activity'' or to refrain from doing so. It also gives the National Labor Relations Board the power to (1) conduct secret-ballot elections for employees to determine if they want to be represented by a union and (2) remedy violations of the NLRA (called ''unfair labor practices'') committed by employers or unions.

* Employee Retirement Income Security Act --Regulates employee benefit plans, such as pension and health insurance plans, and protects the funds invested in those plans for the benefit of plan participants and their beneficiaries.

Once your company begins to grow, there are additional requirements depending on the number of employees:

* Four or more -- Ohio Fair Employment Practices Law (Chapter 4112, Ohio Revised Code) prohibits discrimination in employment practices as to a person's race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability or ancestry. (Ohio Civil Rights Commission, 466-5928)

* 10 or more -- OSHA requires employers to post their annual summary (OSHA Form 200) during February, summarizing the preceding year's illnesses and injuries.

* 15 or more -- Federal Equal Employment Opportunity laws prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability and age. These laws include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 and the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, www.eeoc.gov)

* 20 employees or more -- The employer is required to offer COBRA coverage under its health and dental plans to employees upon certain qualifying events, including employment terminations. Premiums are paid by the employee, but the employer has both pre-employment and post-employment notice requirements under COBRA.

* 50 or more employees -- The employer is a covered employer under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. The FMLA requires covered employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected, leave during a 12-month period to eligible employees for certain family or medical reasons. (U.S. Department of Labor, www.dol.gov)

* 100 or more employees -- All private employers with 100 or more employees must annually file the EEO-1 Form, a payroll head count of all full-time and part-time employees categorized by sex and race/ethnicity for each of the nine occupational categories, with the EEOC. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) also applies to employers with 100 or more employees. WARN requires covered employers to provide notification 60 calendar days in advance of plant closings or mass layoffs.

While this list is not exhaustive, you can use it to see if you're covering the basics. An Ohio employer with at least 50 employees, for example, should have at least seven posters in the workplace.

The posters are important. The various statutes of limitations for employment law violations do not run unless the related posters are displayed, so there would be no time limits on lawsuits for violations of those laws. In addition, even failure to post is a violation and can result in fines. Allen S. Kinzer is a partner in the Columbus office of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP, practicing labor and employment law and advising employers about labor-management relations, federal and state discrimination laws and litigation, unemployment compensation, wage/hour compliance and Family and Medical Leave Act compliance. He can be reached at 464-8318 or askinzer@vssp.com.