Employment laws are primarily to protect the rights of employees as well as of the employers. Employment law is defined as “The law, common law and statute, relating to the relationship of employer and employee” (“Employment Laws,” 2005). It consists of a multitude of Federal and State rules, regulations as well as case law. Federal and State government systems are responsible for unilateral application of these laws across the board. Federal employment laws focus on keeping a balance between the power with in an organization or any setup providing employment opportunities to people.
Main purpose is to create a level playing field between employer and employee so that neither is able to exploit other. The State employment laws stem from Federal Laws and are broad explanations of the same for better implementation purposes. These are off shoots of Federal Laws and can not exist in contrast to each other. There can however be some laws existing in a State which does not have a base in Federal Laws, but still in any case the State Laws will not go against the over all spirit of keeping a balance of power between the employer and the employee.
Without employment laws, it would have not been possible to coexist is today’s workplace. These cover a vast arena in the modern workplace and only by a thorough knowledge of the employment laws, can workers protect their rights. Managers are also required to be proficient in these laws in order to be effective in insulating their company’s exposure to possible devastating lawsuits. In addition to the many Federal laws and regulations, employers, management and employees need to be aware of State laws.
State laws must be adhered while operating locally. This paper has been designed to explain the employment laws manifested by the Federal and State system of governments. Further more, employment laws of the State of Texas will also be scrutinized with special reference to a provision not existing in Federal laws. Federal Employment Laws The employment laws at Federal level are articulated and controlled by the Department of Labor.
According to the Department of Labor website, Federal employment laws consist of laws ”that guarantee workers’ rights to safe and healthful working conditions; a minimum hourly wage and overtime pay; freedom from employment discrimination; unemployment insurance; and other income” (Department of Labor, 2006). Some examples of Federal employment laws are: 1. Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) 2. Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) 3. Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) 4. Equal Pay Act (EPA) 5. Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) 6. Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) 7.
National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) 8. The Occupational Safety and Health Act (the OSH Act) 9. Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) 10. Civil Rights Act of 1866 (Section 1981) 11. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) The Federal employment laws reflect the reality that employers stand in a position of power in the employment relationship and therefore these laws make endeavors to stop exploitation of the same. Similarly, these laws provide legal protection to the employees. These laws eventually make the “power relationship” between employer and employee one that is fair and equitable” (Bennett & Hartman, 2004).
State laws should be the extension of Federal laws and must not breach any provision of the Federal law, but can broaden the scope and provide enhancements. State Employment Laws States are the major providers of employment resources and are required to implement the Federal laws related to employment. Federal employment laws are generally the guidelines, and individual States need to explain the same and provide detailed instructions for their better on ground implementation. As stated earlier, state employment laws often act as enhancement to Federal laws and should not come in tangent to the spirit of the law.
For example, the Federal employment laws are mostly applicable to organizations or agencies employing fifteen or more employees. Extending the same provision, many States often apply the anti-discrimination laws to employers that employ just one employee. Now this State law is not in conformity of the federal law but it does not go against the anti-discrimination spirit of the Federal law. Similarly, another distinction between State and Federal employment laws is that state laws are often broader in scope than federal laws.
This may result in protection being provided to a wider range of groups than those covered by federal law. Texas Law on Employment Protection Texan laws on employment protection are generally in conformity to the Federal laws. There are however some additional provisions like it provides a cap for damage awards for violation of non-discrimination laws, whereas the employees of state government are not entitled to punitive damages awards (further details in paragraph 7 below). A gist of Texan laws on employment protection with regard to anti-discrimination are listed below (“Employment Protection,” 2006): . As per the Texas law, employers with 15 or more employees cannot discriminate based on disability in hiring, firing, training, or matters regarding compensation or the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment. 2. In Texas, employment agencies can not discriminate in employment referral based on disability. 3. Similarly, the labor unions may not exclude, expel or otherwise discriminate based on disability.
Prohibits retaliation by employers, employment agencies, or labor unions based on the opposition of discriminatory practices or the filing of a disability discrimination complaint. . The Texas law prohibits discriminatory advertising of jobs. 5. The law provides that State elected officials or State agencies must comply with non-discrimination laws, even if they have fewer than 15 employees. 6. In Texas, employees or applicants who believe they have experienced discrimination or retaliation have 180 days from the date of the discriminatory or retaliatory action to file a complaint with the State or federal authorities. Such complaints should contain the facts on which the complaint is based and the date, place and circumstance of the violation. . The Texas law provides a cap for damage awards for violation of non-discrimination laws, including back pay, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and punitive damages. The caps vary based on an employer’s number of employees. Employers with fewer than 101 employees can be assessed damages of up to $50,000, while employers with more than 500 employees can be assessed damages of up to $300,000. Employees of state government are not entitled to punitive damages awards. Conclusion Every individual has the nature to pursue his/her interests.
But when it comes to working together, these interests may often collide with each other’s. Therefore, there has to be a balancing act which should ensure the protection of interests of everyone. With a multitude of laws, regulations, statutes and other considerations in the area of employment law, the federal government, through Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (1964), has created a basic framework for employers to ensure that employees are treated fairly on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or age, thus reducing their liabilities.
One of the outcomes of our forefather’s leap into the American experiment is the ability of individual states to enact laws pertaining to their unique situations. Many states have expanded upon the Act to further protect the individual employee from bias in the workplace. An effort was made in this paper to explain the Federal and State systems of employment protection with a special reference to the State of Texas.