Employment Law in the United States

Understanding employment law is vital forever working person because if the individual does not know his rights, he is unaware of how to protect himself if the violation of the rights takes place.

In this research paper, I will look at significant elements of employment law, such as collective bargaining and labor arbitration, discrimination, pensions, unemployment compensation and workers safety.

Collective bargaining

Collective bargaining consists of negotiations between the employers and employees which the aim to develop the effective working conditions. The National Labor Relations Act is the main governing body for collective bargaining. It grants the right to join unions and bargain collectively to all employees. Also, this Act prohibits the employer to refuse to bargain with the employees’ representative. It is a normal situation when employees have some disputes with employers and when employers have misunderstandings with employees. The law regulates such situations through arbitration legislation which requires both sides (employers and employees) to come up with the agreement on how to resolve different types of disputes. The process should be controlled by the third party who formally holds the hearing on the issue. The Federal Arbitration Act is not applicable to employment contracts, but recently the court often applies this law in labor disputes. Also, 35 states have adopted this act as the state law (Noon 24).

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Employment Discrimination

The majority of the disputes occur because of discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, disability or old age. Discriminatory actions include bias in hiring, promotions, job assignments and termination. The 5th and 14th Amendments to United States Constitution prohibits any form of discrimination in workplace and grants all individuals the right to be equally protected by law if they face discrimination at work. The Equal Pay Act states that employees cannot pay salaries of different range to two individuals occupying similar positions and having the same responsibilities. It also prohibits funding less based on sex – women and men are legally protected from having equal salaries.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits discrimination based on the age of the employee. If the employee is over 40, he is protected by this law. The Rehabilitation Act protects handicaps from discrimination in employment opportunities. The American with Disability Act eliminates discrimination based on physical or mental disability by employers. All of these Acts have a centralized body – the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission which interprets and enforces these legislations (Debrah 41). Under Constitution, all people are eligible for the same rights and liberties, and these rights should develop employment Law. The United States has the most comprehensive and useful anti-discrimination system in the world. Also, the United States has to have such system because the population of the country is very diverse.

Unemployment compensation

It often happens that employees have lost the job because of factors they had no control over. In this case, employees get the monetary payments for the period until they find a new place of employment. Without this compensation, many employees would have to take jobs for which they are overqualified. The American unemployment insurance is established by the Federal Social Security Act as early as in 1935. Each state has the freedom to develop its unemployment insurance, but it has to be approved by the Secretary of Labor by the federal standards.

In order for the unemployment insurance to function, some federal and state taxes are levied upon employers. Thus, the employer contributes the portion of all salaries paid to the unemployment fund. Then these funds are distributed for the state administrative costs and unemployment compensation. If the state is in an economic recession, the government can extend the period for which unemployed individuals receive the benefits. Some of the states offer additional benefits to disabled workers. For example, in California disabled, unemployed individuals receive compensation that comes from the employer’s taxes.

Pension law

After the person reaches the certain age (65 in U.S.) he is eligible to terminate his employment because the law ensures that the pension payments will be made to him by the employer. There are two types of pension buy naltrexone online plans – defined benefit plan (based on the working experience and the wages the employee received) and defined contribution plan (employer makes defined contributions on the account established for each employee) (Barrett 12). The Congress has passed the Employee Retirement Income Security Act under which the federal statutory law governs pensions. This Act is highly complicated, but it provides detailed regulations for many aspects of pension payments. For example, it requires all employers to provide their employees with the description of benefits they will receive after retirement.

Even though the employers are obligated to provide pension pensions, many of them are not encouraged to provide pension plans that follow the established guidelines. To change the situation the government offers tax breaks to employees who act by rules. The minimum coverage and the vesting of the pension plans are required to be followed by all employees. Currently, there is a concern that Social Security, pension funds, in particular, can go bankrupt is new guidelines will not be initiated. One of the solutions which are highly attractive to employers is giving the employees the opportunity to privately invest a portion of the income taxes into the stable enterprise, for example in stock markets. It is believed that these investments will help the Social Security to offer the same level of benefits it does today in the future. The problem is especially urgent if to take into account the aging baby boomers generation.

Workplace Safety

To eliminate the personal injuries and illnesses taking place in the workplace, the government has established the guidelines on workplace safety and health laws to be followed by all employers. The Occupational and Safety Health Act protects employees and their families from health problems associated with the working environment. The Secretary of Labor ensures that the guidelines of this act are followed, examines the working conditions and addresses the complaints. Unlike other employment laws, the states are not permitted to promulgate any laws in this area.

Worker’s compensation

Worker’s compensation is the final area to look at in this paper, but it is not the least important. Compensation is closely related to discrimination legislation under which employees should get fair compensation despite their sex, race, national origin, age, disability or sexual orientation. The majority of compensation laws are aimed to secure the payments to those employees who have injured or disabled at the workplace. There are many sections of this law. For example, the Federal Employment Compensation Act covers the federal non-military employees, the Federal Employment Liability Act covers the railway workers, the Longshore and Harbor Worker’s compensation Act protects the rights of marine employees, the Black Lung Benefits Act provides the compensation to miners suffering from pneumoconiosis (Moore 78). There are many more laws covering the compensation issues associated with the workplace injuries.

In conclusion, it is essential to be aware of all of the above employment laws to be protected. Only one hundred years ago women could not even dream about equal compensation with men for the work they have done, while today this equality is protected by the law. Probably the essential legislation law is anti-discrimination provisions. Discrimination is a susceptible issue because American society is very diverse and the government should ensure that all citizens have equal employment opportunity. This paper did not cover the sexual harassment issue, but the legislation protects employees, both males, and females, from being sexually harassed at work. Employment legislation changes over time and provides more protection to the workers. Today the American employees can be confident that the law ensures equal employment opportunities to all, and in case the employment rights are violated, employees protected.

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