Which Laws are Most Critical for Employees to Understand? There are So Many!

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Which Laws are Most Critical for Employees to Understand? There are So Many!

In today’s society, employment-related lawsuits are becoming more prevalent. Therefore, both employers and employees need to understand their rights and the laws that protect them both. 

The number of wage-and-hour cases filed under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) grows significantly each year. The FLSA sets the federal minimum wage, for example, so it’s applications are vast and consequential. FLSA also requires time-and-a-half overtime pay for hourly employees who work more than 40 hours a week.  According to the latest Federal Judicial Caseload Statistics, the number of FLSA cases filed in federal court between 2010 and 2011 alone increased more than 15%. There are other areas governed by the FLSA. In addition, state regulations add to the obscure laws that govern workplaces across the country. 

The Family Medical Leave Act: The Family Medical Leave Act was passed to allow employees with a year or more of service to take up to 12 weeks off to handle events such as the birth or adoption of a child, to care for a sick family member, or if they themselves are ill and need to take care of a serious health issue. Importantly, this employment law only applies to employers with 50 or more employees.

Age Discrimination: According to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, it is illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of they over the age of forty when making hiring, firing, or job promotions in the workplace.  

Civil Rights Discrimination: Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, an employer cannot consider an individual’s race, religion, sex, or national origin when making important decisions about hiring, firing, and pay.

Disability Discrimination: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) offers comparable civil rights protections to employees with qualified disabilities. The ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified candidates and employees based on their disabilities, as long as they can perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation.

Learning about employment laws may not be at the top of your reading list today, but knowing your rights and responsibilities in the workplace are important to your bottom line. A qualified employment lawyer can help you navigate these maze of federal regulations should you find yourself in a difficult legal conflict.

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