What are the Main Employment Laws in the U.S?

Submitted by Elizabeth on

There are many laws that protect employees from illegal actions that are taken by employers. The main ones include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Equal Pay Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). These laws were put in place—and continue to exist—to help ensure that employee rights are maintained, and workplace discrimination does not take place.  

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964  

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in just about all employment circumstances, including wrongful termination based on race, color, religion, gender, pregnancy, or national origin. Title VII only applies to employers with 15 or more employees. The purpose of Title VII is to force employers to consider only objective, job-related criteria when making employment decisions about employees instead of making decisions based on a characteristic of the employee. In other words, Title VII forces employers to make decisions about their employees that is entirely separate, and in no way guided by, a characteristic of an employee. It is also important to note that, under Title VII, employees are considered to be members of a protected class when it comes to race, color, religion, gender, pregnancy, or national origin. 

Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) 

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects people with disabilities from being discriminated against work. The ADA became law in 1990 and it prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including schools, jobs, transportation, as well as all private and public places that are open to the general public. The law’s aim (i.e., objective) is to ensure that people with disabilities have—and are treated as having—the same opportunities and rights as everybody else. 

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) 

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects employees over the age of 40 from discrimination when hiring, offering promotion, discharging and compensation. The ADEA is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). 

Equal Pay Act 

The Equal Pay Act requires that men and women in the same workplace are given equal pay for equal work. It is important to note that while the jobs do not need to be identical, they must be almost equal. All types of pay are covered by this law which includes the following:

  • vacation and holiday pay;
  • stock options;
  • salary;
  • reimbursement for travel expenses;
  • profit sharing;
  • overtime pay;
  • life insurance;
  • hotel accommodation;
  • cleaning or gasoline allowances;
  • bonuses;
  • bonus plans.

Fair Labor Standards Act 

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) determines the overtime pay, minimum wage, youth employment, and recordkeeping standards that have an effect on employees in the private sector as well as in local, state, and federal governments. Covered, non-exempt employees can expect to receive the minimum wage of not less than $7.25 per hour. Additionally, overtime pay is calculated at a rate of not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay and is a requirement after the completion of 40 hours of work in a single working week for these employees. 

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) 

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles employees to employer coverage so they are able to take leave for family/medical reasons that is unpaid and job-protected. 

Get Help With Your Employment Law Claim 

It is never easy proving how you are entitled to protection under federal laws when you have suffered unfair treatment or discrimination. However, if you work with an attorney who understands employment laws, you may have a higher chance of winning compensation when you have been a victim of discrimination or unfair treatment at work.  

Complete the Free Case Evaluation on this page to get connected with an independent, participating attorney who subscribes to the website and may be able to help you.

Additional Resources 

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