Employment Law

Overview

Employment law governs the relationship between workers and their employers. This law, contained in federal and state statutes, administrative regulations, and judicial decisions, specifies the rights and restrictions applicable to each party in the workplace. Employment law differs from labor law, which primarily deals with the relationship between employers and labor organizations.

Employment law in the United States regulates such issues as employee benefits, discipline, hiring, firing, leave, payroll, health and safety in the workplace, non-compete agreements, retaliation, severance, unemployment compensation, pensions, whistle-blowing, worker classification as independent contractor or employee, wage garnishment, work authorization for non-U.S. citizens, worker's compensation, and employee handbooks.

When an employer promulgates a policy regarding an issue in the workplace, generally, that policy is legally binding provided that the policy itself is legal. Policies can be communicated in various ways: through employee handbooks and manuals, memos, and union contracts.

Relevant federal statutes on employment law include the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Age Discrimination in employment Act of 1967, Fair Labor Standards Act, Occupational Safety and Health Act, Employee Retirement Income Security Act, and Family and Medical Leave Act, though many more federal and state laws and regulations govern virtually every aspect of the employer/employee relationship in the workplace.

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