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For RACG Members

On October 31st, 2019, the RACG FSC certificate will be transferred from NEPCon to a different certification body, SGS North America (SGSNA).
Though there is work required to switch certification bodies, we periodically review our certification contract to ensure that you get the best rate, with the least hassle, possible. After almost a decade with Rainforest Alliance, including making some tough decisions internally that were needed to keep your annual rate unchanging during that same decade, SGS North America was hands down the best option during this review cycle.
What does this mean for you?
The RACG FSC certificate code will change, from NC-COC-005576 toSGSNA-COC-005576. You will need to make this change in your systems and internal processes so that all outgoing invoices and shipping documentation reflect this new certificate code. We strongly recommend that you continue to use your current one or two digit sub-code at the end of the certificate code (those will not change).
The RACG FSC Trademark License Code (FSC®C103525) will not change; the FSC logos you use for your customer¬ís jobs and your own promotional uses remains the same. This also means that the FSC label generator will continue to use the same login.
Probably the biggest change is that we willno longer be able to use the Rainforest Alliance Certified Seal(green frog). If you are using the RAC Seal, you will need to remove this from all materials such as customer jobs, websites, and other promotional materials as soon as possible (or as you do new jobs) but no later than October 31.
The next big change to be aware of is that FSC trademark approvals will not be submitted through a trademark portal.On October 31styou will need to begin emailing your trademark submissions. SGSNA provides a 24-hour response time. Information for trademark submissions will be shared with you prior to October 31st.
After October 31st, 2019, we will be addingSFI Chain of Custody(CoC)certificationto the RACG group in addition to the FSC CoC certification.Our certificate will share a group SFI CoC code, the same as we do for FSC CoC certification. We will not receive the SFI CoC Code until after the transfer has been completed; be assured we will provide it as soon as we receive it.
Our documentation set is currently being revised to accommodate the new certifier information, as well as the SFI requirements.A separate email will be sent shortly to Primary FSC contacts for each member with a link to the updated documentation set.If you need to have additional contacts within your organization receive this transition email please let us know as soon as possible. The document set should be reviewed and completed at your earliest convenience.
The price for your RACG membership will not change.

PGAMA Acquires PrintED

PGAMA Acquires PrintED
On July 1, 2019,PGAMAformally acquired the nationalPrintED Accreditation Programfrom Graphic Arts Education & Research Foundation (GAERF).  Workforce development is one of the top challenges faced by the printing industry today and PrintED is one of the long-term solutions.  PGAMA has been a supporter and contributor to this program for many years.

PrintEDis a nationally recognized accreditation program based on industry standards and competencies that are appropriate for high schools and post-secondary schools offering graphic communications programs. PrintED accreditation ensures an instructional program for students that is current and relevant, consistent across the nation and aligned with industry standards.

Workforce development is one of the top challenges faced by the printing industry today. Employees are retiring at a faster pace, and companies are having more difficulty finding experienced employees. This difficulty is causing companies to look at alternative sources of employees.

PrintED graduates have an interest in the printing Industry, understand industry terms, are familiar with machinery and equipment, and production workflow. They are knowledgeable, trained, and are highly employable in Industry or continue with post-secondary education.

PGAMA is uniquely positioned to guide and expand the PrintED program using their longstanding model for successfully managing relationships between PrintED schools, State Departments of Education, and local industry partners. Support from state agencies is crucial to maintain funding for our industry education programs and to impact national policymaking for career readiness. These connections are essential in establishing and maintaining a reliable, effective, and consistent pipeline of new employees for the Graphic Communications Industry.

PGAMAis a non-profit trade association serving printing firms in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. whose mission is to help members meet their business goals through advocacy, education, and communication.   The printing & publishing industry employees over 30,000 people in our region and ranks among the top in terms of manufacturing establishments, economic impact and number of employees.

For more information about PGAMA, contact President Jay Goldscher at 877-310-0906 /This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or visit the PGAMA website:www.pgama.com.

Wage & Benefit Survey 2019

Participating in the 2019 Wage + Benefits Survey will help you gain invaluable insights to stay competitive in your local labor marketplace. Receive a complimentary copy {$250 Value} for your participation. The report includes both regional and national survey and will be available in the Fall of 2019.

Surveys are due July 31, 2019

You have your choice on how you would like to input the data:

  1. Complete it online at www.printindustries.org
  2. Download the .pdf of the form and you can mail or fax the finished survey to 9160 Red Branch Road, Suite E-9, Columbia, MD 21045 or fax 410-319-0905

If you select to enter the data online this year, you won't have to reenter the data next year.  The survey has been changed to allow you to update data from one year to the next.  This will make the survey quicker and easier to use going forward.  For a list of the Job Descriptions that complement the survey, click here.

 

2019 Wage & Benefit

W&B Job Descriptions

 

Instructions for completing the questionnaire online:

If you choose to go online to fill out the questionnaire, you will need to set up your account. When asked to select an affiliate, you should select Printing and Graphics Association Mid Atlantic, PGAMA

There is a HELP? Button in the top right. Your questions will be directed to Teresa Campbell at PIMW. She will address those questions that are technical to the site

Once you register, you will have access to the survey. There is a job descriptions button on the first page should you need it.

To get started with the online survey, go to www.printindustries.org – you will see the button that says GET STARTED, click that button.

  • Once you click on that button, you will need to scroll down to the section that says REGISTER
  • You will need to REGISTER first before you can participate.
  • You will select your affiliate Printing and Graphic Association Mid Atlantic
  • And enter the password – pgama
  • Once you do this, you’ll set up your company and select a new password.
  • You will need to click on the I’m not a robot button
  • Last hit REGISTER

Your survey responses are saved automatically every five minutes in case you disconnect or log out without saving. If you cannot complete the questionnaire, you can save for completion later by clicking the Blue SAVE AND FINISH LATER button.

The survey can be PAGED through using the BLUE > and < buttons OR shown all at once in a long scrolling page by clicking the Blue SHOW ALL PAGES button.

Once you SUBMIT, you will unable to retrieve and change any responses.  If you attempt to return to the Take the Survey page again, you will see a gray box notification that says: Your survey responses were submitted DATE SUBMITTED. If you have questions or concerns regarding your survey responses, please contact us.

Maryland's Paid Sick Leave Law

Maryland’s paid sick leave law – Maryland Healthy Working Families Act - went into effect last February. All employers must conform unless they are subject to a Collective Bargaining Agreement that took effect before June 1, 2017.        

If a company has 14 or fewer employees, it must provide unpaid sick/safe leave. A company that has 15 or more employees must provide paid sick/safe leave. The employee head count includes full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal workers. The count is NOT based on full-time equivalents.

Like any law, there are a LOT of provisions. Here are the highlights that should hit the key points:

  • Employees can earn up to 40 hours per year of sick/safe time.
  • S/S time accrues at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked or can be given in a lump sum at the beginning of the year for existing employees.
  • Employees that work 12 or fewer hours per week do not have to accrue sick/safe time. Same for temp employees (the temp agency is the employer), and occasional workers that can refuse offered shifts. Minors under the age of 18 also do not accrue sick/safe time.
  • Employees may carry over up to 40 hours of earned leave per year, but the total number of hours in a year may be capped at 64.
  • If the leave is given as a lump sum at the beginning of the year, then the employer does not have to carry over the unused leave from the previous year.
  • If an employee separates from the company, earned sick/safe time does not have to be paid out. If the employee is rehired within 37 weeks, the unused time s/he had at separation must be reinstated.
  • New employees can accrue time from the outset of their employment but may have a waiting period of up to 106 days before being allowed to use the time.
  • If the leave is foreseeable, the employer may require 7 days notice of the leave.
  • The employer can ask for verification of the leave if the employee called off for more than 2 consecutive shifts (i.e., if the employee has missed 3+ consecutive shifts).
  • The Employer must post a notice. Here is the notice/poster that is provided by the DLI: Sick/Safe Leave Notice to Employees

The Dept. of Labor & Industry has sample policies for employers that can be found here.

Maryland Legislative Forecast 2019

Maryland will once again be governed under the executive leadership of Governor Larry Hogan and Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford.  Following his historic victory in November, Governor Hogan became only the second Republican Governor of Maryland in nearly 50 years. 

While the state will remain under the governance of a Republican Governor, Maryland’s General Assembly will retain a stronger Democratic dominance in both the House and Senate Chambers.  In total, the state legislature will witness a nearly 40% turnover of new lawmakers, predominantly made up by progressive democrats.  The surge of progressive lawmakers in the legislature (and in leadership) will ultimately result in an aggressive “push” for more liberal-leaning public policy agenda.  This could include perennial legislation, such as the “Fight for Fifteen” Minimum Wage Increase and “Restrictive” Scheduling, which would impact PGAMA and businesses, statewide. 

If you may recall, the Fight for Fifteen would mandate an increase in the state’s minimum wage to fifteen dollars ($15.00) over a period of time.  Restrictive” Scheduling would mandate certain employers to provide their employees a set work schedule 21 days in advance.  Should a schedule be modified, resulting in an impact against the employee, an employer would be required to provide additional compensation to the employee.  While these bills have not yet been introduced, PGAMA anticipates these bills to be reintroduced this year.  Moreover, PGAMA anticipates the re-introduction of legislation, including Pay Scales and Wage History Information, Association Healthcare Plans, and public policy directed toward workforce development, adult learning, and registered apprenticeships.

In the weeks leading up to the commencement of 2019 session, PGAMA began to review the list of pre-filed bills by members in the House and Senate.  Over 120 bills have already been introduced, with many having the potential to be of interest for PGAMA’s monitoring and advocacy throughout 90-day session. 

Criminal Expungements:

Thus far, three criminal expungement bills have been filed in the House Chamber, these include House Bill 13, 16, and 19.  Both House Bill 13 and 16, would permit an individual to petition the court for a partial expungement under specific circumstances.  House Bill 19 would authorize a person to file a petition for expungement of a certain record if the person was convicted of a nonviolent crime.

Corporate Income Tax – Reduction:

Senate Bill 37, entitled Corporate Income Tax – Rate Reduction, would reduce the State income tax rate on the Maryland taxable income of corporations over a period of time.  If passed, the State income taxable rate on corporations’ taxable income would be reduced to seven percent (7%) after the year 2020.

Sick Leave – Modification:

PGAMA (and its members) are not unfamiliar with the controversial legislation, known as the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act.  Following Governor Hogan’s veto in the Spring of 2017, the General Assembly overrode the veto during the early weeks of the 2018 session – the law took effect 90-days thereafter.  The law generated debate between employees, the business community, and legislators on both sides of the aisle and remains a sensitive topic in Annapolis. 

Despite many in disagreement with various provisions in the law, both sides agree that it needs further modifications - Senate Bill 38 is reopening that discussion this year.  If passed Senate Bill 38 would exempt, from certain provisions of the law, specific employees who regularly work at facilities at which the employers offer the employees access to certain on-site health clinics. 

Should any of these bills (and/or others) begin to move forward, PGAMA will take positions and possibly seek membership “Call to Action” in Annapolis. 

One of the new initiatives PGAMA has developed is a legislative conference call for members. Alexander & Cleaver’s Government Relations’ team will provide their unique insight and expertise as to various issues that they anticipate to encounter on behalf of our industry and clients.  We strongly encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to hear from these consultants and have a Q &A session at the conclusion of the call.  The first day of the session begins on Wednesday, January 9th, so be on the lookout for a follow notification regarding the details on how to participate on the conference call.   

SGIA Trends Report

Here's another perspective on critical trends for commercial printing.  

SGIA Trends Report

MD: Disclosing Sexual Harassment Act

Maryland's "Disclosing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Act of 2018" took effect on October 1, 2018. The Act prohibits certain waivers related to an employee's future sexual harassment claims and future retaliation claims for making a sexual harassment claim. It also requires employers with at least 50 employees to complete a survey disclosing the number of sexual harassment settlements in which the employer has entered.
The Act passed the Maryland General Assembly nearly unanimously and was signed into law by Governor Larry Hogan in May.
Restrictions on Agreements
The Act specifies that, effective October 1, 2018:
*       Except as prohibited by federal law, any provision in an employment contract, policy, or agreement that waives any "substantive or procedural right or remedy to a claim that accrues in the future of sexual harassment or retaliation for reporting or asserting a right or remedy based on sexual harassment" is null and void.
*       Employers may not discharge, suspend, demote, discriminate against, or otherwise retaliate against an employee who refuses or fails to enter into an agreement that contains a waiver that is void under the Act.
*       An employer who enforces or attempts to enforce a provision that violates the Act will be liable for the employee's reasonable attorney's fees and costs.
Possible Preemption of the Act as it Relates to Arbitration Clauses
The Act raises many questions. The most significant may be regarding the Act's restrictions on waivers in employment agreements and the effect the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) may have on it and an employer's ability to require mandatory arbitration of future sexual harassment and retaliation claims.
Although the Act prohibits agreements that waive substantive and procedural rights or remedies for future sexual harassment and retaliation claims (which would appear to include pre-dispute mandatory arbitration agreements), the Act includes a carve-out: "except as prohibited by federal law." In AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, 563 U.S. 333 (2011), and Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, 138 S.Ct. 1612 (2018), the U.S. Supreme Court held that the FAA strongly favors the enforcement of arbitration agreements. Thus, if an employee agreement contains a mandatory arbitration clause covered by the FAA, then the FAA may preempt the new Maryland statute. This means the arbitration clause would be in effect and would not be void.
In the event an arbitration clause is not preempted by the FAA and, therefore, is considered null and void under the Act as it relates to future sexual harassment claims, an employer faces the prospect of parallel proceedings in different forums. For example, assume, as is often the case, that an employee entered into an agreement that requires arbitration of all future claims, including sexual harassment claims, race discrimination claims, and sex discrimination claims. The Act purports to ban such an arbitration clause only as it applies to the future sexual harassment claims. Thus, if the employee later asserts claims of sexual harassment, race discrimination, and sex discrimination, the employer could not require arbitration of the sexual harassment claims, which would be litigated in court instead, but theoretically could require arbitration of the race and sex discrimination claims.
Other Implications of the Act's Restrictions on Waivers in Employment Agreements
The Act likely prohibits other types of provisions commonly included in employee agreements, such as jury waivers, statute of limitations restrictions, and limitations on remedies. However, the Act imposes only restrictions on waivers relating to future claims of sexual harassment and retaliation and, therefore, does not prevent employers from settling sexual harassment or retaliation claims that have accrued as of the date of a settlement agreement. The Act also does not appear to invalidate past sexual harassment or retaliation settlement agreements.
Although the Act does not take effect until October 1, 2018, it applies to any agreement "executed, implicitly or explicitly extended, or renewed on or after" that date. It is unclear under what circumstances employment agreements for at-will employees that were entered into prior to October 1, 2018, will be considered to have been "implicitly" extended after that date. For example, it is unclear whether an at-will employment agreement will be considered to have been "implicitly extended" after October 1 simply by an employer continuing an at-will employment relationship with an employee beyond that date.
The Act also does not define "sexual harassment" and in some cases it may not be clear whether the Act applies.
Survey Requirements
The Act also requires employers with at least 50 employees to submit a survey to the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights (MCCR). The survey must contain:
1.     The number of settlements made by or on behalf of the employer of an allegation of sexual harassment by an employee;
2.     The number of times the employer paid a settlement to resolve a sexual harassment allegation against the same employee over the past 10 years of employment; and
3.     The number of settlements made of an allegation of sexual harassment that included a confidentiality provision.
This information must be submitted on or before July 1, 2020, and again two years later (on or before July 1, 2022).
The MCCR will publish the aggregate results of the survey online. The MCCR will make available for public inspection, upon request, the results from a specific employer regarding the number of times the employer paid a settlement to resolve a sexual harassment allegation against the same employee over the past 10 years of employment.
Who is considered an "employee," for purposes of meeting the 50-employee threshold under the survey reporting requirements, is also an open issue under the Act.
Next
Employers should review their current policies and employment agreements carefully with labor and employment counsel to determine compliance with the Act. Employers also should consult with their labor and employment counsel regarding the various issues raised by the Act and obtain guidance regarding meeting the requirements of the statute.
Employers with at least 50 employees should create a system for tracking sexual harassment settlements in order to meet the Act's reporting requirements.
In addition, multistate employers should consider that other states (e.g., New York and Washington) have enacted similar laws. Likewise, federal and state legislatures are considering similar measures.

Our Offices Have Moved

Come see us in our new office space:

02E88949

9160 Red Branch Road

Suite E-9

Columbia, MD 21045

The move will take place September 28 - October 1.  

Our phone, web, and email remain the same.

Hurricane Preparedness

Vincent Allen, SVP at USI and long-time PGAMA member has provided the following guidance for keeping your business and employees safe during this major weather event.  If you need further assistance, please contact Vincent at 571-369-5114, mobile: 240-271-2516 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

2018 07 01 USI RM Guidebook Flood Preparedness FINAL

 

2018 07 01 USI RM Guidebook Hurricane Preparedness FINAL

Excellence In Print 2019

Congratulations to the Winners!

See the photos

Grand Q sponsored by Xerox Schmitz Press

Digital Q sponsored by Canon Chromagraphics Inc.

Binding & Finishing Q sponsored by Standard Graphics Inc. Bindagraphics Inc.

Best Overall Performance sponsored by Heidelberg Worth Higgins & Associates, Inc.

Best Use of Color sponsored by Wikoff Color Corporation Schmitz Press

Best Use of Paper sponsored by Lindenmeyr-Munroe Worth Higgins & Associates, Inc.

Judges’ Choice sponsored by Prisco Westland Printers

Peoples’ Choice sponsored by K&W finishing, inc. Chromagraphics Inc.

Best Use of Photography sponsored by Solnet Network & Web H & N Printing & Graphics Inc.

Best Use of Design sponsored by K&W finishing, inc. Mount Vernon Printing Co.

Designers’ Choice sponsored by Atlantic Graphic Systems Schmitz Press

Spirit of Excellence sponsored by MCS Good Printers

Best 4 Color Reproduction sponsored by CardConnect Chromagraphics Inc.

Announcements and Invitations Digital Chromagraphics, Inc.
Announcements and Invitations Non-Process HBP
Announcements and Invitations Process Schmitz Press
Annual Reports; Digital Printing Specialist Corporation
Annual Reports; Process Worth Higgins & Associates, Inc.
Art Reproductions; Digital MOSAIC
Art Reproductions; Process Schmitz Press
Book Covers and Jackets; Process MOSAIC
Booklets: Large, over 6x9; Digital Printing Specialist Corporation
Booklets: Large, over 6x9; Process Good Printers, Inc.
Booklets: Small, up to 6x9; Digital Strategic Factory
Booklets: Small, up to 6x9; Non-Process Schmitz Press
Booklets: Small, up to 6x9; Process Mount Vernon Printing Company
Books: Case Bound; Digital Chromagraphics, Inc.
Books: Case Bound; Non-Process Good Printers Inc.
Books: Case Bound; Process Schmitz Press
Books: Paper Covered; Digital Westland Printers
Books: Paper Covered; Process Schmitz Press
Brochures & Pamphlets; Digital Printing Specialist Corporation
Brochures & Pamphlets; Process Corporate Communications Group
Calendars; Digital Printing Specialist Corporation
Calendars; Process Mount Royal Printing
Catalogs—Company Capabilities; Digital MOSAIC
Catalogs—Company Capabilities; Process Westland Printers
Catalogs—Institutional; Digital Printing Specialist Corporation
Catalogs—Institutional; Process Worth Higgins & Associates, Inc.
Catalogs—Product-Oriented; Digital Westland Printers
Catalogs—Product-Oriented; Process Westland Printers
Die Cutting; K & W finishing, inc.
Embossing; Heritage Printing & Graphics
Envelopes; Non-Process HBP
Envelopes; Process Colortree Group
Finishing/Binding; Bindagraphics, Inc.
Folders, Presentation Kits & Portfolios; Digital Printing Specialist Corporation
Folders, Presentation Kits & Portfolios; Process Chromagraphics, Inc.
Folders,Presentation Kits & Portfolios; Non-Process Westland Printers
Greeting Cards; Digital Chromagraphics, Inc.
Greeting Cards; Non-Process Peabody Press
Greeting Cards; Process Chromagraphics, Inc.
Impossible Job; Chromagraphics, Inc.
Inserts, Circulars & Flyers; Process MOSAIC
Labels (printed—sheetfed); Process Gamse Lithographing Company, Inc.
Labels (printed—web); Digital Gamse Lithographing Company, Inc.
Laser Cutting; K & W finishing, inc.
Letterpress; Worth Higgins & Associates, Inc.
Magazines; Process Worth Higgins & Associates, Inc.
Maps; Digital Williams & Heintz Map Corporation
Maps; Non-Process Williams & Heintz Map Corporation
Maps; Process Williams & Heintz Map Corporation
Menus; Digital Printing Specialist Corporation
Menus; Process MOSAIC
Miscellaneous; Digital Heritage Printing & Graphics
Miscellaneous; Process Schmitz Press
Newsletters; Process HBP
Packaging; Bindagraphics, Inc.
Packaging; Digital Printing Specialist Corporation
Packaging; Process Chromagraphics, Inc.
Point-of-Purchase Material; Digital Printing Specialist Corporation
Point-of-Purchase Material; Process Westland Printers
Postcards & Self-Mailers; Digital Copy General
Postcards & Self-Mailers; Process Chromagraphics, Inc.
Posters Digital Linemark, Inc.
Posters Process Colortree Group
Printers' Self-Advertising; Digital Printing Specialist Corporation
Printers' Self-Advertising; Process Worth Higgins & Associates, Inc.
Programs; Digital MOSAIC
Programs; Non-Process Westland Printers
Programs; Process Good Printers Inc.
Sales Campaigns; Digital Chromagraphics, Inc.
Sales Campaigns; Process Schmitz Press
Stamping; Bindagraphics, Inc.
Stamping/Embossing/Die Cutting Combo; Raff Embossing & Foilcraft
Stationery - Individual or Matched Sets; Non-Process MOSAIC
Stationery - Individual or Matched Sets; Process Worth Higgins & Associates, Inc.
Unique Direct Mail Solutions; Digital Worth Higgins & Associates, Inc.
Unique Direct Mail Solutions; Process Mount Vernon Printing Company
Vinyl Binders; Bindagraphics, Inc.
Web Press Printed Piece Heat Set; Process H.G. Roebuck & Son
Website Design; MOSAIC
Wide Format - Displays; Heritage Printing & Graphics
Wide Format - Signs; Worth Higgins & Associates, Inc.
Wide Format - Unique Application/Installation; Heritage Printing & Graphics
Wide Format - Unique Substrates; Heritage Printing & Graphics
Wide Format - Wraps; Strategic Factory

ITC Votes Unanimously Against Newsprint Tariff

In a major victory for the printing industry, Printing Industries of America is pleased to announce that the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) has unanimously ruled to terminate duties currently being applied to uncoated groundwood paper, or newsprint, imports from Canada. This decision ends the tariff, and funds collected to date will be reversed over a period of three to six months.

From the start, we knew this tax on newsprint would immediately harm commercial printing companies, book printers, service companies, equipment suppliers, and ultimately, consumers. After analyzing the facts, the ITC has issued the right decision to protect American jobs across the country. The printing industry can now breathe a sigh of relief.

Newsprint used by U.S. newspapers and commercial printers consists of two-thirds of uncoated groundwood paper. The spike in the cost of paper promptedharmacross the industry—and forced many local newspapers to scale back reporting and reduce the number of editions they publish. The tariffs also repressed demand by small businesses that use printed advertising inserts and flyers to reach customers.

Today’s victory demonstrates the powerful results the printing industry can achieve when we flex our political might. In the face of the threat to 600,000 American jobs in the newspaper, retail, printing, and publishing industries, PIA joined forces with a broad and diverse coalition to pursue all available avenues to advocate that public officials help put an end to the tariffs. Results included a petition signed by more than 11,000Americans from all 50 states. More than 150 members of Congress expressed opposition to the tariffs with letters to key Administration officials, testimony delivered before the ITC, or co-sponsorship of legislation in theHouseandSenate. In addition, both theTeamstersand theCommunication Workers of Americawrote letters opposing the tariffs.

Supreme Court Ruling

Printing Industries of America (PIA) recently released a statement about the Supreme Court ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. In the statement below, PIA provides an explanation of how it could impact printers regarding their right to refuse service to a customer.


On Monday, the United States Supreme Court decided that a Colorado baker had the right to refuse service to customers based on his sincerely held religious beliefs. The Court very specifically based its decision on the fact that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission did not fairly and impartially enforce Colorado's anti-discrimination law that bars discrimination against sexual orientation and religion.

Because the Court's decision is quite narrow, it does not provide carte blanche permission to refuse service in the name of religious freedom pursuant to the First Amendment. The Court limited the breadth of its decision to occasions when there is a demonstrated failure to remain neutral when weighing civil rights against the free exercise of religion. Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, Slip Opinion No. 16-111 (U.S.S.C. June 4, 2018).

For printers, the question about whether a company can refuse a customer's business arises most commonly in the context of doing work for controversial customers or on controversial subjects. The first step is to consider whether the customer is in a class protected by the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, or the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. These statutes prohibit discrimination based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, and mental or physical disability, and customers who are refused service based on these characteristics could sue and may win a judgment against the printer.

If the customer is not in a protected class, then the printer may refuse service. For example, if the customer wanted the printer to create packaging for a product that had been tested on animals, and the printing company does not want the job due to that practice, the printer can refuse service because companies that use animal testing do not fall within a protected class.

For questions on this issue, contact Printing Industries of America's Director of Human Relations, Adriane Harrison, for assistance at 412-259-1707 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Source: Printing Industries of America. 

iLearning Center

The Integrated Learning Center--an included member benefit for all Printing Industries of America printers--features industry-focused courses developed and presented by industry expert instructors. There are free courses for every professional in categories such as print production, sales, marketing, customer service and lean manufacturing. iLearning Center premium content includes industry certifications, Power Selling, and other programs.  Want to Learn more about it?  Click Here.

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