United States labor law is the body of law and regulations which concern work in America. There are a number of statutes which operate at a federal level such as the fair labor standards act, the national labor relations act and the occupational safety and health legislation. These statutes apply to workers in the commercial, non-government workforce. There is also a set of laws which govern employees of the federal government whilst the rights of workers in the state governments across the nation are determined by the legislation of those states. Some of the most important elements of the federal laws include protections against discrimination on the grounds of race, national origin, age and religion.
One of the major issues for workers is the legality of wages and hours worked. Rights in relation to minimum wages and overtime par are determined by the fair labor standards legislation. The issue of wage garnishment is covered by the consumer credit protection legislation. One of the most controversial areas of labor law concerns protection worker’s protections in agriculture with particular regard to the concerns of migrant workers. The Migrant and Season Agricultural Worker Protection Act secures the rights in this field. There are a number child labor protection provisions which are found in the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Perhaps the most pressing issue in labor law is the regulation of occupational safety and health. There are a variety of different pieces of legislation which deal with this at the federal law. There is the mine safety and health laws and a number of provisions of the legislation already mentioned. Associated with this is the scope of workers’ health benefits, retirement standards and workers compensation. There is the Employee Retirement Income Security Act which governs employee benefit plans. There is the black lung compensation regime found in the Black Lung benefits Act and there is also the Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act along with the Defence Base Act which governs compensation for defence force personnel and there is obviously the Family and Medical Leave Act which governs compulsory leave entitlements.
A number of miscellaneous rights exist as a product of pieces of legislation such as the Employee Polygraph Protection Act which governs the use of lie detectors in employment circumstances. There are also protections for whistleblowers and there is also legislation which requires plant operators and companies conduct mass lay-offs to follow certain legally prescribed processes and procedures. Furthermore, legal norms exist for union officer elections and financial controls to prevent the abuse of the labor union system by union officials.