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5 Common Employment Laws that Protect Employees in the United States

How well do you know the common employment laws that protect employees? Unfortunately, there is still a common lack of understanding of the important laws that protect Americans from workplace discrimination, wage violations, sexual harassment, the right to take sick leave, and more. Let’s take a moment to explore the most common American employment laws and how they protect you from many different workplace cases of abuse.

5 Common Employment Laws that Protect Employees

  • Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA)

This is one of the earliest and most relevant acts of Congress that has a major impact related to paying employees, particularly when their work exceeds 40 hours per week. The FLSA established the pay distinction between salaried employees and hourly workers, the latter of which must receive additional compensation (overtime pay) whenever they work beyond 40 hours each week.  If your employer fails to pay you overtime or for all hours you work, you should consider filing a wage claim to recover the pay you have rightfully earned.

  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

In 1993, Congress enacted the FMLA to protect employees from retaliation or termination whenever they take leave for medical or family reasons. Employees are permitted to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year if they work for an employer who the FMLA covers.

  • Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)

This landmark legislation helps to prevent workplace safety hazards in three ways: 1) Granting workers the “right to know” all the potential dangers related to their job; 2) Allowing employees to file OSHA complaints in the event of safety issues, and 3) Safeguarding the right to file such complaints from any form of retaliation.

  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act

This law, enacted in 1947, protects against age-related discrimination, making it unlawful to take adverse action in employment to any person over age 40 which is based upon age.

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act

Here is another important legislation addressing workforce discrimination. Title VII holds that employers may not discriminate against employees with regards to their race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

What Happens If These Laws Are Violated?

These laws are in place to protect workers in their various activities and interactions with companies, employers, labor unions, and other groups. Such protections mostly relate to wage discrimination, unjust terminations, retaliation, and workplace safety.

Employers who violate these or any other employment laws are subject to liability and money damages. Failing to provide the legally mandated wage under the FLSA, for example, could lead to severe penalties against the employer.

Who Can Help Me If I Experience a Violation of My Workplace Rights?

If at any time you believe you or a coworker have suffered discrimination or a violation of these laws, you should seek legal counsel. These are sometimes difficult and complicated cases to pursue in court, and you can expect that your opposition (usually your employer), will arrive with their legal representation. Therefore, you should not enter a legal dispute alone.

Also, remember to prepare yourself for a productive meeting with your attorney and consider reviewing these 5 questions to ask an employment lawyer before your first consultation.

Employment Laws that Protect Employees: Contact us for help

Rowdy Meeks Legal Group LLC assists employees in pursuing their unpaid wage claims against employers. Contact us if you believe that your employer is not paying you all wages you have earned.