Labor and employment law is an extremely broad area including all facets of an employer/employee relationship. There is an exception to that in labor and employment law – and that is the negotiation process covered by labor law and collective bargaining.
Labor and employment laws consist of thousands of federal and state statutes, administrative regulations, and judicial decisions. The area is so vast you usually need a lawyer to help you sort things out. But if you want to try researching labor and employment law yourself, you can always take it one step at a time.
In the area of labor and employment law you will find things like the minimum wage regulations. These were put into place to protect the workforce. (e.g., minimum wage regulations) Minimum wage regulations were enacted as protective labor legislation. Other labor and employment law niches deal with public insurance e.g. unemployment compensation.
Considering the rich cultural diversity of the US, one of the hottest areas of labor and employment law is employment discrimination. Sad but true, that often there is a need to enforce basic human rights when it comes to the workplace.
The employment discrimination laws are there to prevent discrimination based on race, sex, religion, national origin, physical disability and age. These items are considered to be the basic “touchstones” of the discrimination movement. Having said that, you will also note another area of employment discrimination law that is growing by leaps and bounds – the area covering discrimination based on sexual orientation. This would include bias in hiring, promoting, job assignments, terminations, compensation and other types of harassment.
The US Constitution and some state constitutions also give added protection when the employer is the government or a governmental body or where the government has fostered/promoted discrimination by an employer.
There is even further protection from discrimination in the powerful Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. They specifically limit the power of the federal and state governments to discriminate. Of interest is the fact that the Fifth explicitly spells out that the federal government can not deprive individuals of “life, liberty, or property,” without due process of the law. Along the same lines, the Fourteenth prohibits states from violating an individual’s rights of due process and equal protection.
Although these areas of labor and employment law are at times dry and convoluted, they have laid the foundation for the fostering of dignity in the human rights and discrimation fields. Without this kind of labor and employment law in effect, one can’t even begin to imagine what the workforce might be like.