The right to organize and the National Labor Relations Board’s enforcement of those rights mean nothing if workers do not know about them. And that’s where the Department of Labor plays a big role.
The National Labor Relations Act, enacted by Congress and signed by President Roosevelt in 1935, established workers’ rights to organize unions, set the rules that regulate union conduct for employers and workers alike, and secured rights to engage in collective bargaining. Through the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and the Office of Labor-Management Standards, the Department of Labor works to safeguard those rights.
OLMS and OFCCP are agencies that enforce workers’ rights in the workplace. While most of the work our agencies do differ from one another, we have a unique partnership to help employees of federal contractors and subcontractors know about their rights to organize and bargain collectively. In 2009, President Obama issued Executive Order 13496, which requires certain federal contractors and subcontractors to post a notice, both physically at their work sites and electronically, to inform employees of their NLRA rights. OLMS developed a Notice of Employee Rights poster. OFCCP and OLMS work in tandem to help federal contractors comply with this requirement and enforce the law when they do not. Below is a simple summary of the requirements and our two agencies’ roles in enforcing it.
Federal Contractors’ Requirements
Posting the workers’ right notice is an obligation, not an option.
Federal contractors and subcontractors must post the Notice of Employee Rights clearly in their establishments – both physically and electronically – to inform employees of their rights under the NLRA.
Contractors must also include this posting requirement in subcontracts and purchase orders.
Where a significant portion of a contractor's or subcontractor’s workforce is not proficient in English, employers must provide the employee notice in languages spoken by employees.
OFCCP conducts physical inspections of contractor establishments (and, as appropriate, of contractor websites) to determine compliance.
OFCCP has found violations of the requirement to post the Notice of Employee Rights, as well as the requirement to include posting requirements in subcontracts.
Noncompliance and Enforcement
Workers can file a complaint
Employees may file complaints with OLMS or OFCCP about contractors and subcontractors that fail to comply with the Labor Department’s posting requirements or do not include the notice provision in contracts, subcontracts, and purchase orders.
OFCCP investigates complaints of noncompliance. OLMS is responsible for taking necessary enforcement action and imposing any penalties and sanctions for noncompliance with the Executive Order.
Get the Notice of Employee Rights
This free tool is available for you to download now!
We improved the Notice of Employees Rights by adding a few technical updates and by making it easier to read. The updated notice is available online – in 15 different languages. We encourage contractors and subcontractors to print the updated Notice of Employee Rights in the appropriate language and post it at your worksites.
Jenny R. Yang is the Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and Jeffrey Freund is the Director of the Office of Labor-Management Standards.