EEOC issues new mandatory poster highlighting GINA

Take a look at those posters on your break-room bulletin board. If they haven’t been replaced in a while, you may be violating federal law.

Most notably: In 2010, the EEOC issued a new “EEO is the Law” poster that most employers must display. It now includes information on employee rights under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).

GINA prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating against job applicants and workers based on genetic information. It also limits employers’ ability to gather and disclose information about employees’ genetic conditions—generally, inherited health issues or tendencies toward certain diseases.

The new EEOC poster describes the new GINA prohibitions, and tells employees how to report alleged violations.

You can download and print the new “EEO is the Law” poster for free by clicking here.

There’s no need for employers to pay third-party vendors for required U.S. Department of Labor posters. They’re all available free at the DOL’s online Poster Page.

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Control your corkboard: The 4 key steps

Federal, state and local laws require most employers to post certain notices where all employees can read them. HR Specialist Premium Plus subscribers can learn more about these requirements—and the legal pitfalls of poster mistakes—by reading 10 minutes well-spent: Audit your employee bulletin board.

In the meantime, here are four general tips for maintaining your bulletin boards.

1. Keep your bulletin board organized, with clearly labeled sections. Depending on your industry, such divisions might include: State and Federal Laws, Emergency Response Procedures, Safety Policies, Personnel Policies and Management Notices.

2. If you post company personnel policies, include any disclaimers, such as those that say the policies do not create a contract of employment or alter any employee’s status as an at-will employee.

3. Limit bulletin board use to official business only. Prohibit employees from using the company bulletin board. Instead, use a second bulletin board for employees to post notices about yard sales, school fundraisers and so forth.

Include a statement on the board that management reserves the right to remove inappropriate notices, and specify that religious solicitations, sexually suggestive items, racially offensive items and political postings are prohibited.

If, however, you are concerned about union organizing activities, you may wish to ban employee postings of any kind anywhere. The law is unclear on whether you can allow personal postings but ban union-related ones.

4. Check both bulletin boards on a regular basis. When in doubt about required postings and permissible employee notices, consult your attorney.