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Employee and Labor Law Overview

Employment is defined as a contract between employees and an employer that is signed by both parties involved and cannot be terminated without just reason; such as a breach of the contract by the employee. An employee is defined as a person under contract of an employer, whether oral or written, to perform services until the employer feels necessary to remove the employee from the place of work.

Employees work in the commercial industry for wages from the employer after they perform the requested services. Employment can also occur in non-profit sectors, public sectors and in the household. Along with employment, there is also unemployment. Unemployment is when a worker is out of work for an extended period of time after being laid off from his or her previous job.

Employment can take quite a few different forms. They are temporary, permanent, full-time and part-time. A temporary employee is someone sent to a company by a temp (temporary) agency to fill the employment needs of that company for a specified amount of time. A temp employee can work at a company anywhere from a couple of weeks to six or more months.

A permanent employee is one that works for a company on a permanent basis. They are usually hired after a handful of interviews between the employer and the employee. A permanent position comes with full-time work, salary, benefits and vacation time. Permanent employment lasts for more than six months if the employer and employee feel it should. Permanent employment can end at any time at the discretion of the employer and if the employee moves on to another job.

Part-time work is when an employee works 20 or fewer hours per week. These employees do not receive benefits, vacation time and other company perks. Full-time employment is when an employee works 40 or more hours per week and includes benefits, vacation time and other company perks.

Labor law is defined as the body of laws and regulations that address the legal rights of workers and their organization. The Federal Labor Law of the United States establishes minimum wages for workers within the country as well as overtime rights for employees. The Federal Labor Law also provides each individual state the opportunity to create their own laws to protect workers from workplace discrimination. It states that employees cannot be discriminated by age, gender, sex, race, religion or national origin.

Federal Labor Law also provides laws and regulations for workplace safety but also allows each individual state the opportunity to create their own safety regulations. ‘At-will’ employment is protected under the Federal Labor Law and it states that employment can be terminated by either party involved at any time for any reason or without reason. Most employers have a 90-day probationary period for new employees. This 90-day probationary period provides the employer time to evaluate their new employee to make sure that he or she fits with the company and has learned the job properly over the time allotted. The terms of employment can be terminated after this 90-day period without reason.

There are three other important laws that keep the workforce running effectively that operate under the Federal Labor Law. Those laws are the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act creates standards for the funding and the operation of pensions and health care plans provided by employers to their employees upon their retirement. The Family and Medical Leave Act establishes twelve weeks of unpaid family leave for employees with continued health coverage to tend to family matters. The Occupational Safety and Health Act has created specific standards for workplace safety and was signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1970.

The Federal Labor Law protects employees and employers alike from workplace lawsuits, wrongful termination, injury, retirement plans, healthcare plans, family leave and discrimination.

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