Federal Government Employment Laws
Federal employment laws control many aspects of employer-employee relationships, from hiring to termination of employment. Congress has enacted statutes governing compensation and benefits, working conditions, employee safety, and collective bargaining. Although there are counterpart laws from state and local governments, the federal laws set minimum standards and requirements for how employers across the country must treat their workers.
Equal Employment Opportunity
The largest category of federal employment laws proscribes discrimination in hiring, compensating, promoting, disciplining and discharging employees who belong to protected groups. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on gender, race, color, religion or national origin. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act protects workers who are age 40 or older.
Wages, Hours and Benefits
The compensation and benefits employees receive for the hours they work are also influenced by federal law. The Fair Labor Standards Act sets minimum wages and requires the payment of overtime to covered employees for time worked over 40 hours in a week. It also restricts child labor.
Labor Relations and Unions
Employees in non-right-to-work states may decide to elect unions to represent them in negotiating wages and working conditions. The National Labor Relations Act covers private sector union-management relations. The Federal Labor Relations Act provides federal employees with more limited union rights. Moreover, the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act promotes union democracy.
Work can be a dangerous place, but federal laws offer protection against hazardous equipment, work practices, and environmental dangers. The Occupational Safety and Health Act sets specific standards to limit workplace risks.
Immigration and Other Issues
Federal immigration laws and the Immigration and Nationality Act require documentation that employees from foreign countries have permission to work in the United States.