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My Online Career Space

Employment Law

Employment Law: An Overview

Employment labor law is a broad area encompassing all areas of the relationship between the employer and employee except the negotiation process which is covered by labor law and collective bargaining. See, Labor Law & Collective Bargaining and Arbitration. Employment and employer law consists of thousands of Federal and state statutes, administrative regulations, and judicial decisions. Many employment laws (e.g., minimum wage regulations) were enacted as protective labor legislation. Other employment laws take the form of public insurance, such as unemployment compensation.

Specific areas within the broad category of employment law covered under their own topical entries include:

  • Collective bargaining
  • Employment discrimination
  • Unemployment compensation
  • Pensions
  • Workplace safety
  • Worker's compensation

The topic of employment law is a very broad topic as both employers and job seekers have the responsibility to protect themselves at all times. Coming to an understanding of these rules and governing bodies will help you to avoid costly litigation and time misspent.

At a minimum, employers need to be aware of the Compliance Assistance - Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Overview of employment and labor law

The FLSA establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards affecting employees in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments. Covered nonexempt workers are entitled to a minimum wage of not less than $6.55 per hour effective July 24, 2008; and $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. Overtime pay at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay is required after 40 hours of work in a workweek.

  • FLSA Minimum Wage:

    The federal minimum wage is $6.55 per hour effective July 24, 2008; and $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. Many states also have minimum wage laws. In cases where an employee is subject to both state and federal minimum wage laws, the employee is entitled to the higher minimum wage.

  • FLSA Overtime:

    Covered nonexempt employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 per workweek (any fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours - seven consecutive 24-hour periods) at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay. There is no limit on the number of hours employees 16 years or older may work in any workweek. The FLSA does not require overtime pay for work on weekends, holidays, or regular days of rest, unless overtime is worked on such days.

  • Hours Worked (PDF):

    Hours worked ordinarily include all the time during which an employee is required to be on the employer's premises, on duty, or at a prescribed workplace.

  • Recordkeeping (PDF):

    Employers must display an official poster outlining the requirements of the FLSA. Employers must also keep employee time and pay records.

  • Youth Employment:

    These provisions are designed to protect the educational opportunities of minors and prohibit their employment in jobs and under conditions detrimental to their health or well-being.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor Employment Standards Administration

Top Tips for Avoiding Legal Trouble With Employees

Globally, here are some tips that might help you when dealing with your employees.

  1. Treat your workers with respect.
  2. Communicate with your workers.
  3. Be consistent.
  4. Give regular evaluations.
  5. Make job-related decisions.
  6. Don't punish the messenger.
  7. Adopt sound policies and follow them.
  8. Keep good records.
  9. Take action when necessary.
  10. Be discreet.

Other Resources

From here, employers often look toward these specific sites for more information employer laws:

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