Cooper stops company that tried to trick NC businesses
Release date: 2/13/2007
Company that hawks workplace posters agrees to change ways, pay refunds
Raleigh: A Michigan company that tried to intimidate North Carolina businesses into paying for mandatory workplace posters that are available for free has been ordered to change its ways and pay refunds, Attorney General Roy Cooper said today.
“This company tricked businesses into paying for required workplace signs they can get for free,” said Cooper. “We’ve stopped it and won refunds for North Carolina businesses.”
Cooper announced an agreement today with The Mandatory Poster Agency of Lansing, Michigan and its directors Steven J. Fata, Thomas Fata and Joe Fata. Under an agreement approved today by Wake County Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway, Mandatory Poster cannot imply that it is connected to a government agency and is barred from misrepresenting legal requirements for posting workplace notices such as those reminding employees to wash their hands. The agreement also requires the company to pay refunds to North Carolina consumers who bought hand-washing posters and $10,000 to the state.
Cooper contends the company’s marketing materials looked like government notices and appeared to have been sent to businesses, churches or other organizations by a government agency but were actually sent by a for-profit corporation. Cooper believes the company used these tactics to scare businesses into buying posters that are available for free from government agencies.
Cooper’s Consumer Protection Division began investigating Mandatory Poster in August 2006 following complaints from North Carolina businesses that received pitches from the company.
North Carolina businesses that are required by the law to post notices on labor laws in the workplace can order free posters from the N.C. Department of Labor’s website: http://www.nclabor.com/posters/posters.htm. Free hand washing signs can be found on the N.C. Division of Environmental Health’s website located at www.deh.enr.state.nc.us/ehs/index.htm.