Small-business owners have enough headaches without other entrepreneurs preying on their fear of government regulation. And that's just what this week's Rogue is guilty of doing.
Compliance Documents LLC of Norwalk, Conn., actually tried to bilk the Rogue desk itself. But it picked the wrong kid to bully.
It's an old scam and a simple one—reminding business owners they must update their federal and state labor-law notification posters. Up-to-date posters must be posted in most workplaces, and in some cases, employers can be fined for failing to do so.
But those posters are available for free online from the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries and the U.S. Department of Labor. The scam comes when companies offer the posters for sale, using scare tactics about nonexistent government crackdowns.
The Rogue Desk received an email Aug. 2 from Compliance Documents reminding us that Congress had recently changed the federal minimum wage. This much is true. President Bush signed a law May 25 raising wages from $5.15 an hour to $5.85 an hour effective July 24.
The email said our labor posters are out of date and warned of a $17,000 fine for each violation. "Order now and have the piece [sic] of mind of knowing you have the latest, most accurate compliance posters required by law," the message wheedled.
But there is no $17,000 fine. According to the U.S. Department of Labor website, there's no penalty for failing to post the federal minimum wage. BOLI spokesman Marc Zolton says the state can give fines for failing to post state labor laws, but he knows of no cases where it has.
Zolton says there are several companies around the country that operate similar scams. BOLI has complained to the Oregon Department of Justice, but Zolton says the DOJ declined to pursue the case. A DOJ spokeswoman says the agency investigated but has no jurisdiction.
As for Compliance Documents, the phone number listed in its email didn't work. And requests for comment sent to its email address went unanswered.