KSL INVESTIGATES

Small business owner warns of letters threatening fines for noncompliance over workplace posters

Dec 13, 2023, 1:20 AM | Updated: 10:59 am

HIGHLAND — A small business owner in Highland has a warning about a letter making the rounds in Utah. He says it aims to bully small businesses into paying money they don’t need to.

Aaron Jarrett runs a company called, Learned Local.

“We are essentially a marketplace for hobbyists to create experiences in the community,” he said.

It is a new company and that means all sorts of official things have started showing up in the mail, including a letter at first blush didn’t seem all that strange.

“It looks very government-like,” Jarrett said.

It sure does. Up at the top in all caps it reads “LABOR LAW COMPLIANCE NOTICE.”

The mailing goes on to cite federal law requiring companies to post workers’ rights information such the minimum wage, workers’ compensation, and guidelines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Failure to poster these posters, the letter warns in bold, can mean “fines in excess of $7,000 per instance.

But conveniently, the letter also says these posters can be provided for $114.

“They have a respond by date indicating that they might be coming by to do inspections,” Jarrett said.

Only down in the fine print will you see this is not an official, government letter. It’s just some company offering to sell compliance posters.

Jarrett says he thinks it is deceitful and asked me to investigate.

As we began digging, we quickly found Jarrett is not alone.

The Better Business Bureau has slapped the company, LLCS, with an F rating for not responding to numerous complaints alleging the company is, “trying to mislead.”

The LLCS letter Jarrett received lists a company address that leads to a mailbox inside a UPS store in Sugar House. The letter also includes an email address which I emailed but did not hear back.

I took Jarrett’s letter to Eric Olsen with the Utah Labor Commission.

“We see these quite often,” he said.

He says, indeed, labor posters are required to be posted in businesses that have employees, but the posters are all available for free online. He says government officers want to help businesses succeed – not intimidate them.

“They want it to seem official, so it gets people worried,” Olsen said of companies who send letters similar to the one Jarrett received. “We’re getting a lot of phone calls about it.”

As for Jarrett, he says he might have just paid if not for the fact that he doesn’t have employees. He says he hopes others small business owners aren’t fooled.

“If it’s getting that close to getting me, I know it’s getting many other entrepreneurs.”

Again, these federally required workplace posters for businesses are free. More information on where to find them can be found on the U.S. Department of Labor’s website.

Additionally, workplace posters required for businesses by the State of Utah can be found on the Utah Occupational Safety and Health Division’s website.

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Small business owner warns of letters threatening fines for noncompliance over workplace posters