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6 Labor Laws An Employee Should Know

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Labour law is a branch of law that covers the duties and rights of labour. These laws are also called employment laws. They are laws that govern the relationship between workers, employers, the trade union, and the government.

Various provisions of laws were enacted to protect various rights of workers and here are a few:

  • The wage and hour act protects the rights of employees concerning pay and hours worked. Whenever there is a breach in this right, a wage and hour lawyer comes in who helps in handling and resolving wage and hour disputes.
  • The Employees’ Compensation Act 2010. This act was enacted to provide a fair system of adequate compensation for employees for any death, injury, or disability that occurred in the course of employment.
  • Factories Act, Chapter F1, LFN 2004. This act provides adequate security for factory workers and ensures their safety, in the course of their employment.

Implications of Labour Law

Labour law applies to employee standards, workplace safety, their rights, and pay equity. Organisations are fully aware of the fact that failure to adhere to these laws can attract serious penalties including possible jail time, and lawsuits. 

When there is a wrongful termination of employment, employees have the right to involve a wrongful termination of employment lawyer to ensure that they are compensated for any damage that might have been caused.

The gravity of the organisation’s penalty depends on the offence. Organisations are made to pay back every benefit they withheld from the employees. 

Once the court intervenes in the case by lawsuit, these organisations know they are on the verge of losing their reputation and all they’ve worked hard to build. For some companies to be able to stay informed about the status of their compliance, they go out of their way to hire legal counsellors. 

Types of Labour Law

Labour law can be divided into collective and individual labour law.

  • Collective labour law is the section of labour law that regulates the relationship between the employees, their employer, and the trade union in the organisation.
  • Individual labour law is a branch of labour law that protects and controls employees’ rights through the contract of employment.

6  Labour Laws An Employee Should Know

There are certain laws that govern and protect the rights of employees they might be ignorant about but need to know.

1. The Family And Medical Leave Act 

This law states that employers in the private sector that have up to fifty or more employees must award qualified workers up to 12 weeks of protected job and unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons over 12 months. The act restricts employers from hindering and denying employees any rights provided by the law. Employees are to submit a form and other obligatory medical certifications. This is to help employers closely examine the reasons employees give for their leave.

2. The Fair Labor Standards Act 

This act requires employers to pay overtime to employees working more than 40 hours per week. A wage and hour lawyer  is required to consult to make sure that employers adhere to this act. The lawyer assists clients with legal issues on wages and work hours stemming from the relationship between employers and employees.

These lawyers can work in private firms or for government agencies and they help interpret and advise the law of wage and hour to their clients. They bring before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission cases that have to do with employment inequality.

Any employee that is not qualified for overtime pay must be under administrative or professional exemptions that involve specific job responsibilities.

A good example of employees that work more than 40 hours per week and are most likely unaware of this act are independent contractors.

Independent contractors are non-employees of an organisation that provides services and are not bound to the organisation by the contract of employment. Independent contractors may be considered employees by the federal government.

There are cases where employers of labour purposely do not categorise workers to avoid paying overtime, payroll taxes, and other employee-related expenses.

3. The Whistleblower’s Defence Program

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration body came up with a Whistleblower Defense Program that protects employees who brought a company’s violations from termination or retaliation to the limelight.

Certain violations take place in the workplace, and employees who speak up about these violations are applauded for their courage.

It’s essential for employees to feel comfortable when speaking up about workplace violations. As a result of these protections, workers can communicate their problems without the fear of being fired or demoted. Employers who retaliate against the employee in any way will violate this law and face the consequences.

4. Child Labour Protection 

According to the fair labour standard act of 1938, it is the responsibility of employers to ensure the workplace is safe and doesn’t endanger the well-being of staff. 

If you want to hire minors, do it right. It is unfair to deal with minors the same as adult workers. Their age is a factor that allows them to work for a certain number of hours and in certain industries. Minors who are 14 years of age or younger can be engaged as actors, to deliver newspapers, or work for their parents.

5. The Age Discrimination Act

This act was introduced three years after the Civil Rights Act. Its major duty was to particularly prohibit age discrimination in all aspects of work. The act was enacted to stop employment discrimination against persons 40 years of age or older. Under this act, it is unlawful to harass or bully anyone as a result of their age.

The act ensures that there is no discrimination during the recruitment and selection processes, in decision-making, in terms and conditions, and termination of employment. 

6. Occupational Safety And Health Act 

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 has a lot of safety regulations in place to reduce danger in the workplace. The act aims to ameliorate activities that put workers at risk in hazardous situations. 

Employers are mandated to fulfil safety guidelines and provide training on the best procedures to ensure optimum employee safety in the organisation.

Benefits Of Labour Law 

There are certain benefits that employees derive from the enactment of these laws. They are known as employee law benefits.

  • Adequate working hours 
  • Fair pay
  • Employment security 
  • Work-life balance 
  • Equity at work 
  • Trade union rights 
  • Safe working environment 

Employees have the right to get themselves labour lawyers whenever they feel their rights are being withheld and they can’t speak up.

Labour lawyers represent either employers or employees. They work with clients in industries that have labour unions, like education. They are experts on union rules and regulations and how it can be applicable to employers and union members.

Conclusion 

Employees have the right to be aware of certain acts and laws that govern the employment relationship between them and their organisation. It is important to know that lawyers are available for any breach of the contract of employment. These lawyers are responsible for ensuring that employees rights are not trampled and justice is provided to them.

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