Like all areas of law, employment law is constantly evolving. As our ways of communicating with and relating to each other change, such as the now-common use of social networking, new issues arise regarding privacy and conduct. Technological advances open up opportunities for the disabled. Changes in civil rights in general, such as same sex marriage and immigration laws, grow to encompass civil rights in employment. An experienced employment law attorney can help you navigate this complex legal territory, so that you can understand, protect, and exercise your rights.
Employment law covers all of the aspects related to employment and the workplace including:
- Hiring practices
- Drug testing
- Sexual harassment
- Wage and hour
- Whistleblower protections
- Family and medical leave
- Workplace safety
- Workers’ Compensation
- Child labor
Federal Employment Laws
Federal employment laws include:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- The Americans with Disabilities Act
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act
- Fair Labor Standards Act
- Family and Medical Leave Act
- Occupational Safety and Health Act
- Employee Retirement Income Security Act
This is not an exhaustive list of federal laws which apply to employment situations. Your situation may also be covered by state and local laws which vary by jurisdiction. An experienced employment law attorney can help you determine which laws apply to your case and the best course of action based on your unique circumstances.
Workers are Not Always Employees and Some Employers are Exempt
Just because you have a job and work for a living does not necessarily mean you are an employee. For instance, independent contractors and day laborers are not employees, but that does not mean that they cannot enjoy any of the benefits and protections of employment law.
Some employers are exempt from some laws. Many employment laws only apply to businesses with a minimum number of employees, typically 15 workers. Some types of businesses, such as agriculture, are exempt from certain types of employment law. Government entities are often held to a higher standard than private businesses, but also enjoy some immunities from some kinds of legal action.
If you believe that your legal rights as an employee or worker have been violated, or if you are uncertain about compliance as an employer, an employment attorney can help.
Depending on your circumstances as a worker, it may be appropriate to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or a state or local agency, to file a lawsuit independently, or both. While in many cases it is best or even necessary to try to resolve the problem by dealing directly with your employer, that is not always possible or advisable.