Employment law covers all rights and obligations within the employer-employee relationship -- between employers and current employees, job applicants, or former employees. Because of the complexity of employment relationships and the wide variety of situations that can arise, employment law involves legal issues as diverse as discrimination, wrongful termination, wages and taxation, and workplace safety. Many of these issues are governed by applicable federal and state law. But, where the employment relationship is based on a valid contract entered into by the employer and the employee, state contract law alone may dictate the rights and duties of the parties.
Employee Rights and Employer Responsibilities in the Workplace
All employees have basic rights in the workplace -- including the right to privacy, fair compensation, and freedom from discrimination. A job applicant also has certain rights even prior to being hired as an employee. Those rights include the right to be free from discrimination based on age, gender, race, national origin, or religion during the hiring process.
Important employee rights include:
Employers have an obligation to follow federal and state employment and labor laws -- including those pertaining to discrimination, fair pay, employee privacy, and safety in the workplace. The employer's legal obligations do not only pertain to hired employees, but extend to job applicants as well. For example, a prospective employer cannot ask a job applicant certain family-related questions during the hiring process.
Federal Regulations on Employment Relationships
Following is a quick summary of key federal laws related to employment. For more information, see Employment and Anti-Discrimination Laws: An Introduction
Employers have a variety of legal obligations in the workplace, established under both federal and state law. If you and/or your business are faced with a potential legal dispute with an employee, or if you need assistance with any employment law issue, it may be in your best interests to talk to an experienced employment law attorney who will explain your options and protect your legal rights.