U.S. Employee Laws
Assembled by Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD
(For information about employee laws in Canada, see the Human Resources Development Canada website.)
This section of the library provides miscellaneous information which may be helpful as an overview of various aspects of business law in the United States of America. Businesses designing personnel policies should obtain advice from an attorney specializing in the area of employee laws. Businesses requiring legal advice regarding potential or current litigation should seek counsel from an attorney.
Note that employees laws apply the same to for-profit and nonprofit organizations.
Sections of This Topic Include
- Brief overview and history of various employee laws
- Major topics and issues
- Major employee laws
- Employee contracts (at-will employment, non-compete agreements, etc.)
- Miscellaneous links
- General resources (sources with a broad variety of employee-law information)
- Nonprofits – legal information with a focus on nonprofits (including info about employee laws)
- Legal Guides and Links
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Brief Overview and History of Various Employee Laws
There are a variety of federal laws, executive orders, etc., regarding the selection and treatment of individuals in the workplace. Most notable are federal laws established by the Employee Law — Civil Rights Act of 1964, designed to ensure equal employment opportunity (EEO). Numerous EEO guidelines are intended to provide equal opportunities without regard to race, religion, origin, sex, age or disability. The guidelines also established requirements for affirmative action, specifying that employers had to take proactive measures to ensure equal opportunity to certain protected groups. Various other laws are designed to ensure safety in the workplace, fair pay standards and fair treatment of employees providing military service.
The following brief, historical overview might give the reader some initial perspective on employee laws
Information on Federal Labor Laws and Their History
Major Topics and Issues
(Note that some or all of the following topics may be addressed in the section “Major Employee Laws”
- Affirmative Action
- Age Discrimination
- Disabled Workers
- Discrimination (general information)
- Drugs in the Workplace
- Equal Employment Opportunity
- HIV/AIDS in the Workplace
- Preventing Violence in the Workplace
- Privacy Rights
- Religious Protection
- Safety in the Workplace
- Sexual Harassment
- Sexual Orientation Discrimination
Major Employee Laws
The following is a list of many of the major employment-related laws. (Note that related information about the following laws may also be included in the above section “Major Topics and Issues“.)
- American with Disabilities Act (ADA) (protection of disabled citizens)
- Child Labor Laws (hiring and pay of minors)
- Employee Law — Civil Rights Act of 1964 (the major act of Congress which started many employee laws)
- Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act (COBRA) (continuation of health benefits)
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) (health insurance coverage)
- Eligibility of Alien Workers in the U.S.
- Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) (protects against misuse of benefit plans)
- Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) (compensation, exempt and nonexempt, overtime, etc.)
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) (job-protected leave for medical emergencies)
- Federal Employee Compensation Act (FECA) (Worker’s Compensation) (injured workers)
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration Act (OSHA) (safety in the workplace)
- Unemployment Compensation (benefits to qualified, unemployed workers seeking work)
- Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
- Rights of employees in the workplace
- When to file a complaint if discriminated against in the workplace
- Fully Informed Jury Association
- Juror’s Handbook
- Is that even legal?
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