Workplace Employment Laws

Cite this article as: Jason Mance Gordon, "Workplace Employment Laws," in The Business Professor, updated February 23, 2019, last accessed March 29, 2020,

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What are the major employment laws?

There are many federal and state employment laws. Federal laws controlling a particular type of employer conduct set minimum standards for conduct. States may pass laws that place additional requirements on employers, so long as these laws do not conflict with or hinder the execution of federal laws. That is, if not in conflict, the state laws may be more restrictive upon employer practices than similar federal statutes. The major federal laws controlling the employer-employee relationship are as follows:

Internal Revenue Code
Fair Labor Standards Act
Family Medical Leave Act
• Worker Readjustment and Retraining Act
• Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act
Employee Retirement Income Security Act
• Worker’s Compensation Act
Occupational Safety and Health Act
Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
Affordable Care Act
Immigration Reform and Control Act
• State Laws

The Department of Labor may also require employers that meet certain criteria to prominently display information about employment laws and employee rights.

Note: Laws prohibiting discrimination in the workplace are discussed in detail in a separate topic section.

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