Employees have legal options when they think they have been fired for a discriminatory reason. Employers needs to be able to prove that it made a good-faith effort to verify an employee's identity. Labor law concerns the rights and responsibilities of workers and employers. A patchwork of federal, state, and local laws affect labor, including the U.S. Constitution, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the National Labor Relations Act, and more recent antidiscrimination statutes, acts, and laws. Labor laws protect workers' rights and safety and have led to safer workplaces, less child labor, and improved compensation.
At A Glance
Labor law concerns the rights and responsibilities of workers and employers in businesses that are generally unionized.
- Many statutes cover employer and employee rights and responsibilities, including the U.S. Constitution, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the National Labor Relations Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.
- Labor law tips the balance of power in bargaining so that the position of the worker is enhanced. This has resulted in safer workplaces, the reduction of child labor, and improved pay.
- Labor laws have weakened some of the power that employers once had while increasing predictability and stability in the workplace by reducing threats of strikes, sit-ins, and protests. Standards have been instituted for worker protection, minimum wages, and stricter rules about what an employee can and cannot do. Labor law has imposed costs and potential liabilities on the employer, but in doing so it has brought about a much higher standard of living for many workers.
- The modern statutory framework of the U.S. labor law system developed over a 75-year period. Recent laws have addressed new trends, unlike the earlier labor-management laws that focused on laborers' rights to organize.
- In addition to statutory protections, an employee may rely on common-law theory of fraud to bring a lawsuit against a prospective employer or current employer who has misled them in connection with a dismissal or job offer.
- To establish disparate treatment, a person bringing a lawsuit must establish membership in a protected class, have applied for the job in question, have been qualified to do it, and have met the employer's legitimate expectations for the position. They must also prove that the employer rejected the plaintiff for the position and that the employer sought further applicants or offered the job to someone outside the protected class.
- Under OSHA mandates, an employer is required to provide every employee "employment … free from recognized hazards that are likely to cause death or serious physical harm." Violations of OSHA standards can result in heavy employer penalties, potential criminal action against managers, and claims for damages from injured employees and wrongful death claims from family members of employees who died from work-related injuries.
- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security seeks civil and criminal penalties against employers who hire undocumented workers.