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Labor Law

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Labor Law

Labour law (also labor law or employment law) mediates the relationship between workers (employees), employers, trade unions and the government. Collective labour law relates to the tripartite relationship between employee, employer and union. Second, individual labour law concerns employees' rights at work and through the contract for work. The labour movement has been instrumental in the enacting of laws protecting labour rights in the 19th and 20th centuries. Labour rights have been integral to the social and economic development since the Industrial Revolution. Employment standards are social norms (in some cases also technical standards) for the minimum socially acceptable conditions under which employees or contractors will work. Government agencies (such as the former U.S. Employment Standards Administration) enforce employment standards codified by labour law (legislative, regulatory, or judicial).

Labour law history

Main article: History of labour law

Labour law arose due to the demand for workers to have better conditions, the right to organise, or, alternatively, the right to work without joining a labour union, and the simultaneous demands of employers to restrict the powers of workers' many organizations and to keep labour costs low. Employers' costs can increase due to workers organising to achieve higher wages, or by laws imposing costly requirements, such as health and safety or restrictions on their free choice of whom to hire. Workers' organizations, such as trade unions, can also transcend purely industrial disputes, and gain political power. The state of labour law at any one time is therefore both the product of, and a component of, struggles between different interests in society.

Individual labour law

Contract of employment

The basic feature of labour law in almost every country is that the rights and obligations of the worker and the employer between one another are mediated through the contract of employment between the two. This has been the case since the collapse of feudalism and is the core reality of modern economic relations. Many terms and conditions of the contract are however implied by legislation or common law, in such a way as to restrict the freedom of people to agree to certain things to protect employees, and facilitate a fluid labour market. In the U.S. for example, the majority of state laws allow for employment to be "at will", meaning the employer can terminate an employee from a position for any reason, so long as the reason is not an illegal reason, including a termination in violation of public policy.Template:Efn

One example in many countries[1] is the duty to provide written particulars of employment with the essentialia negotii (Latin for "essential terms") to an employee. This aims to allow the employee to know concretely what to expect and is expected; in terms of wages, holiday rights, notice in the event of dismissal, job description and so on. An employer may not legally offer a contract in which the employer pays the worker less than a minimum wage. An employee may not for instance agree to a contract which allows an employer to dismiss them unfairly. There are certain categories that people may simply not agree to because they are deemed categorically unfair. However, this depends entirely on the particular legislation of the country in which the work is.Template:Efn

Minimum wage

Main article: Minimum wage

There may be law stating the minimum amount that a worker can be paid per hour. Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Paraguay, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Spain, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, the United States, Vietnam and others have laws of this kind. The minimum wage is usually different from the lowest wage determined by the forces of supply and demand in a free market, and therefore acts as a price floor. Each country sets its own minimum wage laws and regulations, and while a majority of industrialised countries has a minimum wage, many developing countries have not.

Minimum wages are regulated and stipulated also in some countries that lack specific laws. In Sweden, for instance, minimum wages are negotiated between the labour market parties (unions and employer organisations) through collective agreements that also cover non-union workers and non-organised employers.

Minimum wage laws were first introduced nationally in the United States in 1938,[2] Brazil in 1940[3] India in 1948, France in 1950,[4] and in the United Kingdom in 1998.[5] In the European Union, 18 out of 25 member states currently have national minimum wages.[6]

Living wage

Main article: Living wage

The living wage is higher than the minimum wage. All industrialised countries are discussing Living wage, while many developing countries are still grappling with minimum wage.[7]

Working time

The law working time was made as people were sent to work longer than they could without a break. People could also not get wages for their extra work and to control this, this law was established so that workers would need to be working only for a particular time.

Before the Industrial Revolution, the workday varied between 11 and 14 hours. With the growth of industrialism and the introduction of machinery, longer hours became far more common, with 14–15 hours being the norm, and 16 not uncommon. Use of child labour was commonplace, often in factories. In England and Scotland in 1788, about two-thirds of persons working in the new water-powered textile factories were children.[8] The eight-hour movement's struggle finally led to the first law on the length of a working day, passed in 1833 in England, limiting miners to 12 hours, and children to 8 hours. The 10-hour day was established in 1848, and shorter hours with the same pay were gradually accepted thereafter. The 1802 Factory Act was the first labour law in the UK.

After England, Germany was the first European country to pass labour laws; Chancellor Bismarck's main goal being to undermine the Social Democratic Party of Germany. In 1878, Bismarck instituted a variety of anti-socialist measures, but despite this, socialists continued gaining seats in the Reichstag. The Chancellor then adopted a different approach to tackling socialism. To appease the working class, he enacted a variety of paternalistic social reforms, which became the first type of social security. In 1883 the Health Insurance Act was passed, which entitled workers to health insurance; the worker paid two-thirds, and the employer one-third, of the premiums. Accident insurance was provided in 1884, while old age pensions and disability insurance were established in 1889. Other laws restricted the employment of women and children. These efforts, however, were not entirely successful; the working class largely remained unreconciled with Bismarck's conservative government.

In France, the first labour law was voted in 1841. However, it limited only under-age miners' hours, and it was not until the Third Republic that labour law was effectively enforced, in particular after Waldeck-Rousseau 1884 law legalising trade unions. With the Matignon Accords, the Popular Front (1936–38) enacted the laws mandating 12 days each year of paid vacations for workers and the law limiting to 40 hours the workweek (outside of overtime).

Health and safety

Main article: Occupational safety and health

Other labour laws involve safety concerning workers. The earliest English factory law was passed in 1802 and dealt with the safety and health of child textile workers.


This clause means that discrimination against employees is morally unacceptable and illegal, on a variety of grounds, in particular racial discrimination or sexist discrimination.

Unfair dismissal

Main articles: Unfair dismissal, Wrongful dismissal and At-will employment

Convention no. 158 of the International Labour Organization states that an employee "can't be fired without any legitimate motive" and "before offering him the possibility to defend himself". Thus, on April 28, 2006, after the unofficial repeal of the French First Employment Contract, the Longjumeau (Essonne) conseil des prud'hommes (labour law court) judged the New Employment Contract contrary to international law, and therefore "illegitimate" and "without any juridical value". The court considered that the two-years period of "fire at will" (without any legal motive) was "unreasonable", and contrary to convention no. 158, ratified by France.[9][10]

Child labour

Main article: Child labour

Child labour was not seen as a problem throughout most of history, only becoming a disputed issue with the beginning of universal schooling and the concepts of labourers' and children's rights. Child labour can be factory work, mining or quarrying, agriculture, helping in the parents' business, having one's own small business (such as selling food), or doing odd jobs. Some children work as guides for tourists, sometimes combined with bringing in business for shops and restaurants (where they may also work as waiters). Other children are forced to do tedious and repetitive jobs such as assembling boxes, or polishing shoes. However, rather than in factories and sweatshops, most child labour occurs in the informal sector, "selling on the street, at work in agriculture or hidden away in houses — far from the reach of official inspectors and from media scrutiny."[11]

Collective labour law

Collective labour law concerns the tripartite relationship between employer, employee and trade unions. Trade unions, sometimes called "labour unions"

Trade unions

Main article: Trade union

Some countries require unions to follow particular procedures before taking certain actions. For example, some countries require that unions ballot the membership to approve a strike or to approve using members' dues for political projects. Laws may guarantee the right to join a union (banning employer discrimination), or remain silent in this respect. Some legal codes may allow unions to place a set of obligations on their members, including the requirement to follow a majority decision in a strike vote. Some restrict this, such as the "right to work" legislation in some of the United States.


Main article: Strike action

Strike action is the weapon of the workers most associated with industrial disputes, and certainly among the most powerful. In most countries, strikes are legal under a circumscribed set of conditions. Among them may be that:

  • The strike is decided on by a prescribed democratic process (sildcat strikes are illegal).
  • Sympathy strikes, against a company by which workers are not directly employed, may be prohibited.
  • General strikes may be forbidden by a public order.
  • Certain categories of person may be forbidden to strike (airport personnel, health personnel, teachers, police or firemen, etc.)

A boycott is a refusal to buy, sell, or otherwise trade with an individual or business who is generally believed by the participants in the boycott to be doing something morally wrong. Throughout history, workers have used tactics such as the go-slow, sabotage, or just not turning up en-masse to gain more control over the workplace environment, or simply have to work less.[12] Some labour law explicitly bans such activity, none explicitly allows it.


Main article: Picketing (protest)

Picketing is a tactic which is often used by workers during strikes. They may congregate outside the business they are striking against to make their presence felt, increase worker participation, and dissuade (or prevent) strike breakers from entering the workplace. In many countries, this activity is restricted by labour law, by more general law restricting demonstrations, or sometimes by injunctions on particular pickets. For example, labour law may restrict secondary picketing (picketing a business not directly connected with the dispute, such as a supplier of materials), or flying pickets (mobile strikers who travel to join a picket). There may be laws against obstructing others from going about their lawful business (scabbing, for example, is lawful); making obstructive pickets illegal, and, in some countries, such as Britain, there may be court orders made from time to time against pickets being in particular places or behaving in particular ways (shouting abuse, for example).

Workplace involvement

Main article: Industrial democracy

Workplace consolation statutes exist in many countries, requiring that employers consult their workers on issues that concern their place in the company. Industrial democracy refers to the same idea, but taken much further. Not only that workers should have a voice to be listened to, but that workers have a vote to be counted.


Main articles: Co-determination and Industrial democracy

Originating in Germany, some form of co-determination procedure is practised in countries across continental Europe, such as Holland and the Czech Republic, as well as Scandinavian countries (e.g. Sweden). This involves the rights of workers to be represented on the boards of companies for whom they work. The German model involves half the board of directors being appointed by the company trade union. However, German company law uses a split board system, with a "supervisory board" which appoints an "executive board". Shareholders and unions elect the supervisory board in equal number, except that the head of the supervisory board is, under co-determination law, a shareholder representative. While not gaining complete parity, there has been solid political consensus since the Helmut Schmidt social democrat government introduced the measure in 1976.

In the United Kingdom, the similar proposals were drawn up, and a command paper produced named the Bullock Report (Industrial democracy). This was released in 1977 by the James Callaghan Labour government. This proposal involved a similar split on the board, but its effect would have been even more radical. Because British company law requires no split in the boards of directors, unions would have directly elected the management of the company. Furthermore, rather than giving shareholders the slight upper hand as happened in Germany, a debated "independent" element would be added to the board, reaching the formula 2x + y. However, no action was ever taken as the UK slid into the winter of discontent. This tied into the European Commission's proposals for worker participation in the "fifth company law directive", which was also never implemented.

In Sweden, this is regulated through the "Law on board representation". The law covers all private companies with 25 or more employees. In these companies, workers (usually through unions) have a right to appoint two board members and two substitutes. If the company has more than 1,000 employees, three members and three substitutes are appointed by workers/unions. It is common practice that seats are divided between representatives from the major union coalitions.

International labour law

Template:Clist global labour Since the industrial revolution, the labour movement has been concerned how economic globalisation would weaken the bargaining power of workers, as their employers could move to hire workers abroad without the protection of the labour standards at home. Karl Marx said:

The extension of the principle of free trade, which induces between nations such a competition that the interest of the workman is liable to be lost sight of and sacrificed in the fierce international race between capitalists, demands that such organizations [unions] should be still further extended and made international.[13]

The International Labour Organization and the World Trade Organization have been the primary focus among international bodies to reform labour markets. Conflict of laws issues arise, determined by national courts, when people work in more than one country, and EU law has a growing body of rules regarding labour rights.

International Labour Organization

Following World War One, the Treaty of Versailles contained the first constitution of a new International Labour Organisation (ILO) founded on the principle that "labour is not a commodity", and for the reason that "peace can be established only if it is based upon social justice".[14] The primary role of the ILO has been to coordinate principles of international labour law by issuing Conventions, which codify labour laws on all matters. Members of the ILO can voluntarily adopt and ratify the conventions by enacting the rules in their domestic law. For instance, the first Hours of Work (Industry) Convention, 1919 requires a maximum of a 48 hour week, and has been ratified by 52 out of 185 member states. The UK ultimately refused to ratify the Convention, as did many current EU members states, although the Working Time Directive adopts its principles, subject to the individual opt-out.Template:Efn The present constitution of the ILO comes from the 1944 Declaration of Philadelphia, and under the 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work classified eight conventionsTemplate:Efn as core. Together these require freedom to join a union, bargain collectively and take action (Conventions No. 87 and 98), abolition of forced labour (29 and 105), abolition of labour by children before the end of compulsory school (138 and 182), and no discrimination at work (No. 100 and 111). Compliance with the core Conventions is obligatory from the fact of membership, even if the country has not ratified the Convention in question. To ensure compliance, the ILO is limited to gathering evidence and reporting on member states' progress, so that publicity will put public and international pressure to reform the laws. Global reports on core standards are produced yearly, while individual reports on countries who have ratified other Conventions are compiled on a bi-annual or perhaps less frequent basis.

World Trade Organization

Because the ILO's enforcement and sanction mechanisms are weak, there has been significant discussion about incorporating labour standards in the World Trade Organisation's (WTO's) operation, since its formation in 1994. The WTO oversees, primarily, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade which is a treaty aimed at reducing customs, tariffs, and other barriers to free import and export of goods, services and capital between its 157 member countries. Unlike for the ILO, if the WTO rules on trade are contravened, member states who secure a judgement by the dispute settlement procedures may retaliate through trade sanctions. This could include reinstatement of targeted tariffs against the non-compliant country. Proponents of an integrated approach have called for a "social clause" to be inserted into the GATT agreements, for example, by amending Article XX, which gives an exception to the general trade barrier reduction rules allowing imposition of sanctions for breaches of human rights. An explicit reference to core labour standards could allow action where a WTO member state is found to be in breach of ILO standards. Opponents argue that such an approach could backfire and undermine labour rights, as a country's industries, and therefore its workforce, are necessarily harmed but without any guarantee that labour reform would take place. Furthermore it was argued in the Singapore Ministerial Declaration 1996 that "the comparative advantage of countries, particularly low-age developing countries, must in now way be put into question."[15] Accordingly, it is argued that countries ought to be able to take advantage of low wages and poor conditions at work as a comparative advantage in order to boost their exports. Similarly, it is disputed that business will relocate production to low wage countries from higher wage countries such as the UK, because that choice depends mostly on productivity of workers. The view of many labour lawyers and economists remains that more trade, in the context of weaker bargaining power and mobility for workers, still allows for business to opportunistically take advantage of workers by moving production, and that a coordinated multilateral approach with targeted measures against specific exports is preferable.[16] While the WTO has yet to incorporate labour rights into its procedures for dispute settlements, many countries began to make bilateral agreements that protected core labour standards instead.Template:Efn Moreover, in domestic tariff regulations not yet touched by the WTO agreements, countries have given preference to other countries who do respect core labour rights, for example under the EU Tariff Preference Regulation, articles 7 and 8.[17]

Workers in multiple countries

Main article: Conflict of laws

While the debate over labour standards applied by the ILO and the WTO seeks to balance standards with free movement of capital globally, conflicts of laws (or private international law) issues arise where workers move from home to go abroad. If a worker from America performs part of her job in Brazil, China and Denmark (a "peripatetic" worker) or if a worker is engaged in Ecuador to work as an expatriate abroad in France, an employer may seek to characterise the contract of employment as being governed by the law of the country where labour rights are least favourable to the worker, or seek to argue that the most favourable system of labour rights does not apply. For example, in a UK labour law case, Ravat v Halliburton Manufacturing and Services Ltd[18] Ravat was from the UK but was employed in Libya by a German company that was part of the American multinational oil conglomerate, Halliburton. He was dismissed by a supervisor based in Egypt. He was told he would be hired under UK law terms and conditions, and this was arranged by a staffing department in Aberdeen. Under the UK Employment Rights Act 1996 he would have a right to unfair dismissal, but the Act left open what the territorial scope of the statute was. The UK Supreme Court held that the principle would be that for an expatriate worker, although the general rule is that they will not have UK labour law rights, there would be an exception if the worker could show a "close connection" to the UK, and this was established through the contractual assurances given to Rabat.Template:Efn

This fits within the general framework in the EU. Under the EU Rome I Regulation article 8,[19] workers will have employment rights of the country where they habitually work. But exceptionally they may have a claim in another country if they can establish a close connection to it. The Regulation emphasises that the rules should be applied with the purpose of protecting the worker.[20]

It is also necessary that a court has jurisdiction to hear a claim. Under the Brussels I Regulation article 19,[21] this requires the worker habitually works in the place where the claim is brought, or is engaged there.

EU law

The European Union, unlike most international organisations, has an extensive system of labour laws, but officially excluding (according to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union) matters around direct wage regulation (e.g. setting a minimum wage), fairness of dismissals (e.g., a requirement for elected workers to approve dismissals) and collective bargaining. A series of Directives regulate almost all other issues, for instance the Working Time Directive guarantees 28 days of paid holiday, the Equality Framework Directive prohibits all forms of discrimination for people performing work, and the Collective Redundancies Directive requires that proper notice is given and consultation takes place before any decisions about economic dismissals are finalised.

However, the European Court of Justice has recently expanded upon the Treaties through its case law. As well as having legal protection for workers rights, an objective of trade unions has been to organise their members across borders in the same way that multinational corporations have organised their production globally. In order to meet the balance of power that comes from ability of businesses to dismiss workers or relocate, unions have sought to take collective action and strikes internationally. However, this kind of coordination was been recently challenged in the European Union in two controversial decisions. In Laval Ltd v Swedish Builders Union[22] a group of Latvian workers were sent to a construction site in Sweden on low pay. The local Swedish Union took industrial action to make Laval Ltd sign up to the local collective agreement. Under the Posted Workers Directive, article 3 lays down minimum standards for workers being posted away from home so that workers always receive at least the minimum rights that they would have at home in case their place of work has lower minimum rights. Article 3(7) goes on to say that this "shall not prevent application of terms and conditions of employment which are more favourable to workers". Most people thought this meant that more favourable conditions could be given than the minimum (e.g., in Latvian law) by the host state's legislation or a collective agreement. However, in an interpretation seen as astonishing by many, the ECJ said that only the posting state could raise standards beyond its minimum for posted workers, and any attempt by the host state, or a collective agreement (unless the collective agreement is declared universal under article 3(8)) would be an infringement of the business' freedom to provide services under TFEU article 56. This decision was implicitly reversed by the European Union legislature in the Rome I Regulation, which makes clear in recital 34 that the host state may allow more favourable standards. However, in The Rosella, the ECJ also held that a blockade by the International Transport Workers Federation against a business that was using an Estonian flag of convenience (i.e., saying it was operating under Estonian law to avoid labour standards of Finland) infringed the business' right of free establishment under TFEU article 49. The ECJ said that it recognised the workers' "right to strike" in accordance with ILO Convention 87, but said that its use must be proportionately to the right of the business' establishment. The result is that the European Court of Justice's recent decisions create a significant imbalance between the international freedom of business, and that of labour, to bargain and take action to defend their interests.

National labour laws


In Canadian law, "labour law" refers to matters connected with unionised workplaces, while "employment law" deals with non-unionised employees.


Main article: Chinese labour law

Labour Law in the People's Republic of China has become a very hot issue with the soaring numbers of factories and the fast pace of urbanization. The basic labour laws are the Labour Law of People's Republic of China (promulgated on 5 July 1994) and the Law of the People's Republic of China on Employment Contracts (Adopted at the 28th Session of the Standing Committee of the 10th National People's Congress on June 29, 2007, Effective from January 1, 2008). The administrative regulations enacted by the State Council, the ministerial rules and the judicial explanations of the Supreme People's Court stipulate detailed rules concerning the various aspects of the employment relationship. Labour Union in China is controlled by the government through the All China Federation of Trade Unions, which is also the sole legal labour union in Mainland China. Strike is formally legal, but in fact is discouraged.


Main article: French labour law

In France, the first labour laws were Waldeck Rousseau's laws passed in 1884. Between 1936 and 1938 the Popular Front enacted a law mandating 12 days (2 weeks) each year of paid vacation for workers, and a law limiting the work week to 40 hours, excluding overtime. The Grenelle accords negotiated on May 25 and 26th in the middle of the May 1968 crisis, reduced the working week to 44 hours and created trade union sections in each enterprise.[23] The minimum wage was also increased by 25%.[24] In 2000, Lionel Jospin's government then enacted the 35-hour workweek, down from 39 hours. Five years later, conservative prime minister Dominique de Villepin enacted the New Employment Contract (CNE). Addressing the demands of employers asking for more flexibility in French labour laws, the CNE sparked criticism from trade unions and opponents claiming it was lending favour to contingent work. In 2006, he then attempted to pass the First Employment Contract (CPE) through a vote by emergency procedure, but that it was met by students and unions' protests. President Jacques Chirac finally had no choice but to repeal it.


Main article: German labour law


Main article: Indian labour law

There are over fifty national laws and many more state-level laws. Traditionally Indian governments at federal and state level have sought to ensure a high degree of protection for workers (allegedly). So for instance, a permanent worker can be terminated only for proven misconduct or for habitual absence.[25] In Uttam Nakate case, the Bombay High Court held that dismissing an employee for repeated sleeping on the factory floor was illegal – a decision which was overturned by the Supreme Court of India. Moreover, it took two decades to complete the legal process. In 2008, the World Bank has criticised the complexity, lack of modernisation and flexibility in Indian regulations.[26][27]


Main article: Iranian labour law

As a developing country with an authoritarian government, Iran is behind by international standards. It has failed to ratify the two basic Conventions of the International Labor Organization on freedom of association and collective bargaining, and one on abolition of child labor.[28]


Main article: Japanese labour law


Main article: Mexican labor law

Current labour law reflects the historic interrelation between the state and the Confederation of Mexican Workers, the labour confederation officially aligned with the Institutional Revolutionary Party (the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI), which ruled Mexico under various names for more than seventy years. While the law, on its face, promises workers the right to strike and to organize, in practice it makes it difficult or impossible for independent unions to organize while condoning the corrupt practices of many existing unions and the employers with which they deal.


Swedish labour law is from an international perspective comparatively "thin". This is because many of the issues and areas that in other countries are regulated through state or federal law, e.g., working hours, minimum wage and right to overtime compensation, in Sweden instead are regulated through collective agreements between trade union and employer organisation representatives.

United Kingdom

Main article: UK labour law

The Factory Acts (first one in 1802, then 1833) and the 1832 Master and Servant Act were the first laws regulating labour relations in the United Kingdom. The vast majority of employment law before 1960 was based upon the Law of Contract. Since then there has been a significant expansion primarily due to the "equality movement"[29] and the European Union. There are three sources of Law: Acts of Parliament called Statutes, Statutory Regulations (made by a Secretary of State under an Act of Parliament) and Case Law (developed by various Courts).

The first significant modern day Employment Law Act was the Equal Pay Act of 1970 although as it was a somewhat radical concept it did not come into effect until 1972. This act was introduced as part of a concerted effort to bring about equality for women in the workplace. Since the election of the Labour Government in 1997, there have been many changes in UK employment law. These include enhanced maternity and paternity rights,[30] the introduction of a National Minimum Wage [31] and the Working Time Directive[32] which covers working time, rest breaks and the right to paid annual leave. Discrimination law has also been tightened, with protection from discrimination now available on the grounds of age, religion or belief and sexual orientation as well as gender, race and disability.

United States

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 set the maximum standard work week to 44 hours, and in 1950 this was reduced to 40 hours. A green card entitles legal immigrants to work just like US citizens, without requirement of work permits. Despite the 40-hour standard maximum work week,[33] some lines of work require more than 40 hours to complete the tasks of the job. For example, if you prepare agricultural products for market you can work over 72 hours a week, if you want to, but you cannot be required to. If you harvest products you must get a period of 24 hours off after working up to 72 hours in a seven-day period. There are exceptions to the 24-hour break period for certain harvesting employees, like those involved in harvesting grapes, tree fruits and cotton. Professionals, clerical (administrative assistants), technical, and mechanical employees cannot be terminated for refusing to work more than 72 hours in a work week. These high-hour ceilings, combined with a competitive job market, often motivate American workers to work more hours than required. American workers consistently take fewer vacation days than their European counterparts, and on average take the fewest days off of any developed country.[34]

The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution limit the power of the federal and state governments to discriminate. The private sector is not directly constrained by the Constitution, but several laws, particularly the Civil Rights Act of 1964, limit the ability of the private sector to discriminate against certain classes in employment. The Fifth Amendment[35] has an explicit requirement that the Federal Government not deprive individuals of "life, liberty, or property", without due process of the law and an implicit guarantee that each person receive equal protection of the laws. The Fourteenth Amendment[35] explicitly prohibits states from violating an individual's rights of due process and equal protection. Equal protection limits the State and Federal governments' power to discriminate in their employment practices by treating employees, former employees, or job applicants unequally because of membership in a group, like a race, religion or sex. Due process protection requires that employees have a fair procedural process before they are terminated if the termination is related to a "liberty", like the right to free speech, or a property interest.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 prohibits employment discrimination based on age with respect to employees 40 years of age or older. This Act was created to promote employment of older persons based on their ability rather than age; to prohibit arbitrary age discrimination in employment; to help employers and workers find ways of meeting problems arising from the impact of age on employment because in the face of rising productivity and affluence, older workers find themselves disadvantaged in their efforts to retain employment, and especially to regain employment when displaced from jobs; the setting of arbitrary age limits regardless of potential for job performance has become a common practice, and certain otherwise desirable practices may work to the disadvantage of older persons; the incidence of unemployment, especially long-term unemployment with resultant deterioration of skill, morale, and employer acceptability is, relative to the younger ages, high among older workers; their numbers are great and growing; and their employment problems grave; and the existence in industries affecting commerce, of arbitrary discrimination in employment because of age, burdens commerce and the free flow of goods in commerce.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act[36] is the principal federal statute with regard to employment discrimination prohibiting unlawful employment discrimination by public and private employers, labour organizations, training programmes and employment agencies based on race or colour, religion, sex, and national origin. Retaliation is also prohibited by Title VII[36] against any person for opposing any practice forbidden by statute, or for making a charge, testifying, assisting, or participating in a proceeding under the statute. The Civil Rights Act of 1991 expanded the damages available to Title VII[36] cases and granted Title VII[36] plaintiffs the right to jury trial.

The National Labor Relations Act, enacted in 1935 as part of the New Deal legislation, guarantees workers the right to form unions and engage in collective bargaining. This legislation and its subsequent amendments are also key elements of U.S. labour law.

See also

Organized labour portal




Further reading

  • Stephen F. Befort and John W. Budd, Invisible Hands, Invisible Objectives: Bringing Workplace Law and Public Policy Into Focus (2009) Stanford University Press
  • Norman Selwyn, Selwyn's Law of Employment (2008) Oxford University Press
  • Simon Honeyball, Honeyball and Bowers' Textbook on Employment Law (2008) Oxford University Press
  • Keith Ewing, Aileen McColgan and Hugh Collins, Labour Law, Cases, Texts and Materials (2005) Hart Publishing
  • Simon Deakin and Gillian Morris, Labour Law (2005) Hart Publishing ISBN 978-1-84113-560-1
  • Keshawn Walker and Arn Morell, "Labor and Employment: Workplace Warzone", Georgetown University Thesis (2005)

External links

  • Labour Legislation from Encyclopædia Britannica's 1911 edition
  • California Labor Code
  • States Labor Departments and Law
  • Indian Labor Law
  • Labor law attorneys
  • EU Labour Law
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