Employment laws commonly referred to as labor laws are legislations and precedents that seek to protect the rights of workers. The main objective of establishing employment laws was to seek an amicable way of resolving wrangles and disputes between employers and employees and even the bodies that sought to protect the rights of workers known as trade unions. Despite being established to ensure harmony in workplaces employment laws have for the longest time been a source of discord in organizations since all stakeholders attempt to use laws for their benefit.
Workers argue that employment laws are meant to protect them and to ensure that they are not exploited by their employers in terms of pay, working conditions among other things. Employers on the other hand view employment laws as a legal way of protecting themselves from misconduct and wrong behavior by employees. Although both arguments are correct the extent to which employment laws protect both parties is limited. The focus of this paper is various employment situations that one may have encountered in the past including conflicts, questions, grievances, lawsuits and some of the legal actions that were taken.
In addition this discussion will also delve into the history and evolution of federal employment laws pertaining to each employment situation. The discussion will also briefly look onto the application of the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, and the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 and what role these Acts have played in improving the conditions of workers (Wolkinson, 1996).
One major requirement in almost every country is that the relationship between an employer and an employee be governed by use of a contract. A contract is a legal agreement usually written which gives or conveys rights and obligations to both parties to the contract and any party to the contact who violates the contract either partially or in whole gives the other party the right to sue in a court of law and demand compensation for such violation. This contract is meant to protect both parties incase either parties violates any part of agreement.
It is unfortunate that lack of awareness has cost many employees in terms of their rights. An acquaintance of mine a few years back left a company he had served for more than half a decade without a single penny for lack of knowledge on the issue of employment contracts. The law is not able to protect an employee who is not under a contract since the instrument that the court can use to make the other party contract responsible of his actions is the contract. If no under a contract one is considered as a casual who is not entitled to any benefits whatsoever.
The other major source of contention is the minimum wage that an employee is entitled to. The minimum wage of an employee varies from one country to another and is to a great extent determined by the performance of the economy (Lockton, 2005). However it is of great importance that an employee is clear on the laws of his country regarding the minimum wage so that he or she is not exploited by getting a pay way below the minimum age. An employee also needs to be very clear on the working hours.
This is an area that many employers tend to take advantage of perhaps due to ignorance of their employees. Employers will make their employees work for longer hours than is required without any extra compensation. An employee without knowledge of the law will go on and work for extra hours without being compensated not knowing that his or her rights are being violated. Way before industrial revolution which saw major changes in various sectors of the economy including agriculture and industry, the working hours ranged between 11 to 14.