What is Employment Law?
Employment law is an area of law that pertains to all of the responsibilities and rights of employers and their employees. These laws also cover issues that develop between employers and former employees or prospective employers. While some employment laws were established by the federal government, others were established by state governments.
Federal Employment Laws
Some of federal laws that cover employer-employee relationships include:
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Under this act, employers must allow qualifying employees to take up to 12 weeks off work without pay. When the employee returns to work, he or she must be able to return to the same type of position he or she had at the beginning of leave. To qualify for FMLA leave, the employee must:
*Work for the employer for at least 12 months.
*Work for at least 1,250 hours for the employer during the 12-month period immediately before his or her leave.
*Have a qualifying medical need, such as a serious health condition, an immediate family member with a serious health condition, birth of a child or the adoption of a child.
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
The Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to follow certain guidelines with regard to the minimum wage an employee must receive, as well as the minimum amount employers must pay for overtime hours. Under this act:
*Tipped workers must receive a minimum wage of at least $2.13 per hour.
*Non-tipped workers must receive a minimum wage of at least $7.25 per hour.
*Employees must receive at least 1.5 times their regular wage for overtime hours.
*Employers must pay overtime wages for every hour worked in excess of 40 in a single week.
Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, employers cannot give preferential treatment to workers under the age of 40 to the detriment of workers who are over the age of 40. This act applies only to employers who employ 20 or more individuals.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees or potential employees because of a disability, which is defined by the act as a mental or physical impairment that limits one or more of a person’s major life activities significantly. This act protects employees or potential employees with disabilities only if they can still perform a job’s essential functions, with accommodation if necessary.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Under this law, employers cannot discriminate against prospective employees on the basis of national origin, sex, religion, color or race. This law applies to employers with at least 15 employees and prohibits retaliation, harassment by supervisors or by coworkers if it affects terms or conditions of employment, and discrimination in, hiring, compensation, promotion termination or other terms and conditions of employment.
The Equal Pay Act
Under this law, women are entitled to equal pay for substantially equal work – and not just wages or salary, but also overtime, bonuses, stock options and other forms of compensation.
COBRA provides protection for workers who have left their jobs — whether they quit voluntarily, were fired or were laid off — against losing their group health coverage. Under the act, employers with at least 20 workers must offer exiting employees the right to continue their health coverage for a certain time period.
Illinois Employment Law
The rights Illinois state law provides.
Learn about the Federal Laws which describe employer responsibilities and protect workers from discrimination. Read more about anti-discrimination law.
Wrongful termination refers to the firing or laying off of an employee based on illegal reasons. Find out if you have a case. Read more about wrongful termination.
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