Have You Posted the Required Employment Notices?

Kegler Brown E-mployment Alert

Everyone is aware of the myriad of employment-related notices that employers are required by federal and state law to conspicuously post in the workplace. You know, the gaggle of posters in the lunch room and the HR office that everyone walks by countless times each day and never reads?

Are they really that important? In the wrong set of circumstances, the answer is most definitely "Yes."

In a recent case, two employees sued the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, alleging they were the victims of unlawful discrimination. However, their lawsuits were filed about twenty days too late, after expiration of the applicable statute of limitations period. The hotel moved to dismiss the lawsuits, and the employees argued that the hotel was not entitled to this defense because it had failed to post the required Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) notices which advise employees of their legal rights. The federal appeals court agreed with the employees. The court ruled that when an employer fails to post the information notices, and the employee has no other notice of the complaint procedures, the time limits for filing claims can be extended. The hotel's motion to dismiss the lawsuits because they were untimely was therefore denied. [Mercado v. Ritz-Carlton San Joan Hotel, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 9899 (1st Cir. 2005)]

The lesson is obvious: if the hotel had simply posted the required notices, the lawsuits would have been dismissed on procedural grounds and the hotel would not have to defend the claims in court.