Perhaps it’s because none of the letters was from OSHA. Perhaps it’s because out of the three letters, one was from a company in Washington, D.C., another was from Ponoma, Calif., and only one was from Indianapolis. Or perhaps it’s because their Zionsville-based Passport Coffee and Tea Company has been in business for more than 12 years without any problems with OSHA compliance.
“We haven’t received any notification from the state or federal government,” David Boxley said. “I’m sure they’re not doing anything against the letter of the law; they’re just trying to fool people.”
One envelope is captioned “Urgent!” The one from Washington, D.C., has a logo of the state of Indiana, and is captioned “state regulatory posting alert — do not discard.”
The letter from Indianapolis informs the “personnel manager” that state and federal law requires Indiana employers to post up-to-date OSHA posters at most work sites. Failure to do so may result in “criminal penalties as well as civil liability actions including assessments of up to $7,000.”
The D.C. letter is similar, warning that state and federal laws mandate that employers post up-to-date labor law posters at most business sites.
The California letter is the strongest. It reads, “Final Notice: You must immediately comply with new 2005 Compliance Requirements. Failure to do so may lead to government fines of up to $17,000 and/or employee lawsuits/audits for non-compliance.”
Jamie Hayes of the Indy Better Business Bureau said the Indiana Labor Law Poster Service has a file with the organization. She urged businesses to check with OSHA. “If they’re quoting OSHA, consumers need to contact OSHA,” she said.
Hayes said businesses required to display OSHA posters can often receive them free or purchase them cheaper by contacting OSHA than by dealing with these companies. Two of the letters the Boxleys received said something similar.
Hayes said the services the OSHA compliance companies offer is similar to companies that offer assistance retrieving unclaimed funds.
“Yes, it is a scam, because they’re making money off something you can do on your own. … There are people out there who don’t know they can do this on their own,” she said.