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Key United States Employment Laws

By D. Jan Duffy, J.D.

 
Law Source Nature Enforcement Key Terms
Labor Management Relations Act and Related Statutes Federal; no comparable state or local Regulates collective activity injunctions in labor disputes, union matters National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), United States Courts of Appeal Unfair labor practices; collective bargaining; arbitration
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Federal; state equivalents in most cases Regulates workplace safety Wage and Hour Division, Department of Labor; and state agencies Minimum wage; overtime pay; exempt vs. non-exempt status
Fair Labor Standards Act Federal; state equivalents in most cases Regulates wages, hours, and working conditions Wage and Hour Division, Department of Labor; and state agencies Minimum wage; overtime pay; exempt vs. non-exempt status
Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) Federal only Regulates voluntary pension and benefit plans Department of Labor (DOL), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), federal courts Vesting; plan administrators; fiduciary duty
Workers’ Compensation Laws States only Provide quick, certain payments for work-related injuries State workers' compensation and disability agencies Course and scope of employment; employer's contribution rates; compensable injury
Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 Federal only Regulates immigration through employer reporting and responsibility; prohibits discrimination against U.S. citizens and legal aliens Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) I9's; green cards
Family and Medical Leave Act of 1991 Federal, and some states Provides for minimum of twelve weeks unpaid leave for family or medical matters, including pregnancy Courts Pregnancy leave; definition of "family"
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Federal, and most states Prohibits employment decisions that are because of one's protected status (i.e. race, color, religion, sex, or national origin) Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC); state agencies Discrimination and harassment
Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) Federal, and some states Makes it illegal to discriminate against an individual on the basis of her or his age, which is defined as being older than forty Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC); state agencies Decision-maker vs. stray remarks; protected class

Copyright © 2002 D. Jan Duffy. All rights reserved.
Reprinting or other publication without prior written permission prohibited.