Employment law is a broad area that encompasses all areas of the employer/employee relationship. Employment law consists of thousands of Federal and state statutes, administrative regulations, and judicial decisions.
Most employment laws that people are familiar with take the form of protective labor legislation. Protective labor legislation includes things like minimum wage regulations. Other employment laws that people might not necessarily be familiar with are ones such as public insurance. However, don’t let the name fool you, public insurance simply means unemployment compensation.
A Detailed Look at Labor Laws
There are many bodies of federal and state law that compromise employment law. Usually there are more limited rights for employees of the federal government, as opposed to employees of state and local governments.
Federal law preempts (overrules) most state statutes, in the realm of employment law, when they come into conflict with one another. Some of the major Federal laws include:
- Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
o Establishes minimum wage and overtime rights for most private sector workers. Amended in 1974 to cover governmental employees.
- National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)
o Gives private sector works the right to choose whether or not they want to be represented by a union.
o Makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against workers on grounds of union membership and/or participation in union activities.
- Civil Rights Act of 1964
o Bars employment discrimination on the basis of race, gender, national origin, and religion.
- Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
o Created in 1964, this implemented specific standards for workplace safety.
o Provides protection to “whistleblowers” who complain to governmental authorities about unsafe conditions while allowing workers the right to refuse to work under said unsafe conditions in certain circumstances.
- Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA)
o Requires employers to provide workers with twelve weeks of unpaid medical leave and continuing medical benefit coverage in order to attend certain medical conditions of close relatives or themselves.
- Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
o Establishes standards for the funding and operation of pension and health care plans that employers provide for their employees.
Why Do I Need An Employment Law Attorney?
The few topics that we have just addressed only scratch the surface of employment laws in the United States. If you feel that your employment law rights have been violated, it is best to speak with an experienced attorney that has dealt with employment law issues before. An experienced labor law attorney will help you to comprehend the avenues of recourse that you have against employers or other employees, and will be able to advise you of the validity of your claims.