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Labor Laws

Learn All About Labor Laws & How To Adhere To Them

This is the legal area that talks about the rights and responsibilities of all parties during employment. This mainly pertains to the employee's rights and the employer's responsibilities. The labor laws are different in various jurisdictions. Our section talks about labor law pertaining to the United States of America. The protection of the rights of employees starts with good practices related to hiring. According to labor laws, an employer cannot conduct any credit or background check on any applicant without taking their written permission. Also, it is illegal for any employer to discriminate against any applicant due to their country of origin, religion, race, or age. The Americans with Disabilities Act says that employees cannot discriminate against any prospective employee with a disability unless it makes them incapable of performing the tasks related to the position. All employees have a right to privacy of their possessions during the job. This includes voicemail and phone conversations.

But the communications conducted on any corporate-owned devices may not have safety protections. Work around the world is becoming more remote, and off-hours communications are also increasing. So, there are several jurisdictions that are exploring or enacting the right to disconnect legislation. This prevents any employer from penalizing their employees for failing to respond to any communications outside of working hours.


1. Importance of Labor Laws


Compliance with various laws in this area requires you to remain current on the overall legal landscape. This ensures that the functioning of the business follows all the rules. Any failure to follow the various laws can lead to financial penalties that can go up to more than $9000 and possible jail time. Depending on the type of offense, you may also have to give back pay and interest to the employees or pay for the lost employee benefits. The employer could also get hit with lawsuits from employees who were impacted. This can be a very costly scenario looking at the jury awards, settlement fees, and court costs. The lawsuits can also cause damage to the reputation of the brand. This can have a lot of long-term ramifications. So, you must remember that breaking any federal labor law can lead to costly fines and pricey lawsuits that can damage the reputation of the firm.

A senior labor and employment law attorney, Ashley Kaplan, said, "Many small businesses think they can fly under the radar with some of the bigger federal labor laws. But the truth is that the labor law umbrella covering businesses is extensive, and every employer must be aware. In addition to specific requirements regarding coverage and eligibility, the FMLA prohibits employers from interfering with, preventing, or denying any rights the law provides. It's important to understand the nuances."


2. FMLA and Employee Leave in Labor Laws


The FMLA is an act that is usually misunderstood among all the other employment laws. The private sector employers with more than 49 employees must give eligible employees up to three months of job-protected and unpaid leave for medical and family reasons over a year. Employers also play a major role in decreasing the abuse of the act by the employees. An employer should closely look at the reasons the employees give for their leave by examining the mandatory medical certifications and the employee request form. In this manner, you can find out whether the absence of any employee meets the legal standards for leave under this act.


3. NLRA's Role With Non-Unionized Employers in Labor Laws


Your firm may not employ workers that were unionized. But you would still be subject to the rules of the National Labor Relations Act. This applies to a lot of private employers. It gives employees the right to make unions, bargain collectively, and participate in concerted activity to aid and protect their rights. These rights include permission to talk about the conditions and terms of employment, including wages. The aggressive approach of the National Labor Relations Board to the policies of social media in the workplace has been quite troublesome for a lot of employers in the past. A lot of employers have restricted what their employees may post on Twitter or Facebook. But such types of rules can get firms in trouble if the guidelines are in contradiction with some sections of the NLRA. Employers should carefully develop their policies related to social media. They can even look for legal counsel to ensure they are not limiting any online activity permitted under the laws.

Recently, the board overturned a precedent that made it simple for any employee to push back against the policies that they thought could be seen to interfere with their rights. Now, the logic for an employer to create the policy is taken into consideration before the board thinks that any rule has gone against the rights of employees.


4. OFCCP and Affirmative Action Guidelines Under Labor Laws


The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs of the Department of Labor has issued some guidelines to strengthen employee discrimination safeguards for people with disabilities and veterans. This includes some sections of the Rehabilitation Act and the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act. The requirements for affirmative actions for the covered federal contractors and subcontractors have gone into effect. They include hiring goals that can be measured and also data-tracking and recordkeeping obligations. The contractors must now look to get an aspiration utilization to aim for getting qualified people with disabilities. There is a set percentage of the total workforce for contractors that have less than a hundred employees or for each job group for the bigger employers. The office also needs the contractors to create the right hiring benchmarks for protected veterans. As a bonus requirement of compliance, the employers should also invite the various applicants to self-identify as disabled individuals or protected veterans at the pre-offer and post-offer levels.


5. FLSA and IRS employee misclassification


Many employers take the help of contractors that help keep the operation running well. These workers may be seen as federal government employees depending on the nature of the relationship they have with the firm. The Fair Labor Standards Act needs the covered employers to give overtime to the employees that work more than 40 hours per week at a rate that is at least one and a half times more than the regular hourly rates of the workers. Any worker ineligible for such overtime pay must be placed clearly under the professional, administrative, or executive exemptions of the FLSA, also known as white-collar exemptions. This involves some specific job responsibilities also. Both the Department of Labor and the IRS target firms that misclassify employees by avoiding paying employee-related expenses, payroll taxes, and overtime. The revenue services use some tests to determine a worker's status based on some vital areas.

This includes the type of relationship, financial factors, and behavioral factors. The level of control of the employer over the day-to-day operations of the employee, as well as the contributions of the employee to the business, typically determines the status of the worker. You may be unsure how these rules or any other employment laws affect the running of your firm. Then you can try to consult an attorney or visit the website of the Small Business Administration. There are a lot of regulations and agencies that have come under the scanner for major changes since the start of the presidency of Donald Trump. Preparing for the new developments is crucial and looking out for any new modifications to the present rules is crucial.




The various labor laws act as a method to increase workers' empowerment and ensure workers' protection. It also regulates the relations of workers with employment. The other connected legislation includes the supranational conventions of the international labor organization, the criminal code, the civil code, and constitutional law. The various labor laws look to correct the imbalance of power between the employer and the employee. This assists in preventing the employer from any dismissal of the employee without any reasonable cause. They should also set up and preserve the overall process by which the employees are seen as equal partners in negotiations regarding their working conditions.

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