Employees in the United States are protected by a series of labor protection laws. The U.S. Department of Labor enforces 180 worker protection laws. These laws range from hiring practices, sexual harassment, and medical leave to unemployment benefits and restrictive covenants. Take a closer look at employment laws and some of the key protections employees have.

What’s Employment Law?


Employment law governs the rights and responsibilities between employers and employees through a series of rules. These rules ensure the fair and safe treatment of employees as well as protecting the interests of employers. Employment laws are influenced by federal and state constitutions, legislation, administrative rules, and court opinions.

Employment law encompasses all aspects of the employer/employee relationship. Many labor laws, like minimum wage laws, are designed as protective labor legislation. Others are designed to protect public benefits, like unemployment compensation. Some of the most well-known employment laws include employment discrimination, pensions, employment disputes, and fair compensation.

Minimum Wage


The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) ensures that all United States employees earn a minimum wage for their work. The FLSA mandates that private and public employers pay employees a minimum wage set by legislation. It also ensures nonexempt workers’ rights to earn time-and-a-half for overtime. Minors receive protections that limit the number of hours they can work, and the FLSA prohibits the hiring of minors for high-risk jobs.

When employment law matters arise, it’s important to seek legal advice from an attorney with years of legal experience. The legal team at BOND SCHOENECK AND KING is prepared to represent employees in a range of employment law issues. The seasoned employment attorneys can provide legal expertise for employment-related litigation, collective bargaining, grievance and arbitration proceedings, the resolution of employment issues, and safe working conditions. The law firm represents the legal needs of startups, entrepreneurs, medium businesses, international corporations, and nonprofits in a range of industries.

Workplace Safety


The Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed in 1970 to minimize workplace hazards for U.S. employees. This legislation sets industry-specific guidelines and safety provisions for construction, maritime and agricultural industries. The Occupational Safety and Health Act is enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), as well as state agencies.

Social Security


The Social Security Act of 1935 provides protections for retired and disabled Americans. Social security benefits are funded by a payroll tax. Both employers and employees contribute a percentage of the employees’ earnings, while self-employed workers pay the full cost of the tax.

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Unemployment Benefits


Each state has an unemployment insurance agency and offers jobless benefits through a joint federal-state program. States must adhere to specific federal guidelines when managing unemployment payments to unemployed workers. There are certain requirements that individuals must meet to qualify for payments, such as being laid off or fired. Individuals typically receive benefits for 26 weeks, though there are situations in which payments can be extended. Unemployment laws ensure that individuals have some financial security when they are temporarily out of the workforce.

Employment laws exist to ensure that employers and employees are both treated fairly. Labor laws provide protections for everything from federal minimum wage and workplace safety to social security and unemployment benefits.