Employment law can be a tricky topic, but it’s crucial that any company planning to hire employees has a good understanding of the rules. Failure to acquaint oneself with employment laws can have major repercussions for everyone involved. Here are some frequently asked questions about employment law that can provide basic information.
1. Question: What Topics Does “Employment Law” Cover?
The term actually covers many different topics, but the main areas are discrimination, compensation, safety in the workplace and termination. Basically, all major parts of the employer-employee relationship can be affected by employment laws.
2. Question: Which Government Agency Oversees Employment Law?
The federal government has created many nationwide laws that all employers must follow, but there are many state regulations that further affect workers. Even counties or cities might have additional rules. It is an employer’s responsibility to know the laws created by all these jurisdictions.
3. Question: What Are the Basic Rights Employees Have in the Workplace?
Workers have the right to a workplace free from discrimination and harassment, the right to privacy, the right not to be retaliated against after filing a complaint, the right to a safe work environment and the right to be fairly compensated for work performed.
4. Question: How Do Employment Laws Define Discrimination?
The federal government defines discrimination as the unjust treatment of a person based on his or her age, gender, race, religion, color, national origin, disability and even genetic information. State laws may further define these restrictions.
5. Question: What About Our In-House Policies?
Policies set by an employer can address repercussions for violating employment laws. Employers can also set their own variations on employment laws, as long as they don’t infringe upon federally created civil rights.
6. Question: What Are “Whistleblower” Claims?
Employees who lodge complaints against their employer for violating employment laws may be casually referred to as “whistleblowers.” Workers who file complaints must legally be allowed to do so without fear of reprisal from their employer.
7. Question: Do Employment Laws Apply Even Before Someone Is Hired?
In many cases, such as with discrimination law, the regulations apply to job candidates as well as employees. Again, it is the employer’s responsibility to be knowledgeable about hiring and employment laws.
8. Question: What Are the Key Laws That Dictate Employment Law?
Some of the main pieces of federal legislation that govern employment law are:
“The Americans With Disabilities Act: Requires reasonable accommodation for workers with disabilities and prohibits workplace discrimination based on the presence of disabilities.
“Title VII of the Civil Rights Act: Sets basic rules prohibiting discrimination based on race, gender, color, religion or national origin.
“Family and Medical Leave Act: Allows workers to take up to 12 weeks of medical leave due to qualifying conditions and ensures their jobs will remain available when they return. Employees must have worked at the company for 12 months and 1,250 hours in the year before the leave in order to qualify.
“Fair Labor Standards Act: Creates rules for specific work hours, pay requirements and overtime compensation.
“Age Discrimination in Employment Act: Dictates that employers with more than 20 workers cannot give preferential treatment to employees younger than 40 years of age. It does not prohibit employers from giving preferential treatment to older workers.
9. Question: What Happens if Employment Laws Are Violated?
If an employer is found guilty of violating employment laws, the company may be sued by employees, fined by the government or face other legal and financial repercussions.
10. Question: What Should a Company Do if It Has Questions About Employment Law?
When in doubt about compliance, an employer should consult an employment law attorney before moving forward with any action.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.