The Basics of Employment Law in the United States 

The Basics of Employment Law in the United States | The Enterprise World

Employment laws vary drastically from state to state. As an employer or employee in the United States, you must learn about the unique employment and labor laws in your local area. 

If you’re an employer, being aware of labor laws helps you to stay on the right side of the law and provide a fair, inclusive, and safe environment for your staff. A basic understanding of legal employment requirements enables employees to understand their worker’s rights and identify if and when they are being treated unfairly in the workplace. 

Although you don’t need to know the ins and outs of every single employment and labor law, you must learn about the basic regulations. With general knowledge about these laws, you can navigate the employment world more easily and get the most out of your time in the workplace. 

Below, we have covered some of the basics you need to know about employment and labor laws as an employer or employee in the United States. If you want to learn more about reading this article, look at the HKM’s case studies in employment law

Employment At-Will 

At-will employment refers to when an employee accepts a job offer in the knowledge that their employer can dismiss them at any time, either with or without a reason. This is unlike a traditional employment contract, where the employer must give a valid reason for terminating an employment contract under fair employment laws. 

The process works both ways. At-will employees can terminate their employment at any time without providing notice or working a notice period. Therefore, being aware of at-will employment regulations is essential whether you’re an employer or employee. 

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) 

The Basics of Employment Law in the United States | The Enterprise World

Another vital employment-related regulation to be aware of is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This is a set of federal laws that detail the legal standards surrounding minimum wage, overtime pay, and child labor. 

Employers must stay up to date with the latest changes in the FLSA so they can ensure legal compliance within their business. Employees should also take the time to understand their rights, so they know when to take legal action against their employer with the help of an empoyment or corporate laywer if they aren’t being paid fairly.  

Anti-Discrimination and Inclusivity in the Workplace 

Anti-discrimination policies cover a wide range of potential issues in the workplace and protect employees from being treated differently due to their protected characteristics. Age, sex, gender orientation, sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, religious beliefs, disability, pregnancy, and military status encompass protected characteristics. 

Employers within the United States must implement stringent anti-discrimination policies to protect their employees and promote an inclusive work environment. There are a few employment iaws to be aware of as an employer or employee, including: 

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin 
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination 
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which safeguards older workers from age-based discrimination 
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