Major Federal and State Labor Laws

Federal and State labor laws mandate employers to abide by certain standards like paying minimum wages, ensuring workplace safety, barring discrimination based on gender, age, religion, etc.

In this article, we will discuss some major federal and state labor laws that employers need to obey.

Federal labor laws

OSHA – Occupational Safety and Health Act
• Under OSH Act rules, employers are required to provide a safe and healthful workplace.

• Employers must comply with all the standards prescribed under the law and display the OSH Act posters which may include the Choking Safety Poster, Code of Safe Practices poster, Clean Up Spills poster, Cold Stress Poster, CPR Poster, Drug Free Poster, Electrical Safety Clean Up Tips Poster, Fire Extinguisher Poster and so on. The type of work environment determines which posters must be displayed.

FMLA – Family and Medical Leave Act
• Under the FMLA, eligible employees of employers covered under the law are entitled to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons.

• All covered employers must display the FMLA poster made by the Department of Labor.

• The poster also describes enforcement guidelines and how to obtain additional information.

EPPA- Employee Polygraph Protection Act
• The Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988 (EPPA) prohibits employers from using lie detector tests, either for pre-employment screening or during the course of employment, with limited exemptions.

• All covered employers must post EPPA posters as decided by the Secretary of Labor.

• Employers must display EPPA posters titled “Employee Rights” in a prominent and conspicuous place in every workplace.

EEOC – Equal Employment Opportunity
• Equal employment opportunity laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of age, sex, religion, national origin, race, color, disability or genetic information in workplace.

• The “EEO is the Law” poster gives a summary of the equal opportunity laws and describes how employees or job applicants can file a complaint of employment discrimination.

USERRA – Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act
• USERRA protects civilian job rights and benefits for veterans and active members of the armed forces.

• All employers must post the USERRA poster entitled “Your Rights under USERRA” furnishing employees’ rights and remedial measures under the Act.

FLSA – Fair Labor Standards Act (Federal Minimum Wage/Overtime)
• The FLSA establishes the federal minimum wage, overtime pay, youth employment standards and record keeping associated with employees in the private sector and local, State and Federal governments. Covered non-exempt workers must receive at least the minimum wage and overtime as required.

• Employers who have employees must post the FLSA notice. The notice explains the Act and should be placed in locations in the workplace to enable employees to readily read it. The content of the notice is prepared by Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor.

State Labor Laws
Employers need to display state labor laws as well. Below are some important state labor laws.

Job safety and health protection
• If the employer is covered under an OSHA approved state plan, the employer must display the state version of the OSHA poster. Also, employers must display posters prescribed by the state department of labor and industry.

Child Labor Laws
• Employers who employ minors must display the proper child labor law posters as required by the laws.

• The laws prohibit employers from employing minors in hazardous jobs and occupations that have been declared as hazardous or harmful to the health/well-being of children aged14-17 years.

• Employers must display child labor posters specifying the rights of minors as mandated by the state government. They should be placed in conspicuous places where employees can readily see them.

State Minimum Wage
• Posters furnishing the minimum wage, overtime rate, credit granted (with respect to meals boarding, etc.) in the state must be displaced by employers under the scope of state governments.

Unemployment insurance
• Unemployment insurance laws are administered by respective state government bodies. These laws entitle eligible job seekers temporary income for a specific period that differs from state to state.

Workers’ Compensation
• Workers’ compensation mandates employers to partly compensate for the loss of income and medical expenses incurred by an employee in the event of job related injuries.

Whether the employer comes under the scope of either Federal or State government labor laws, compliance with those laws is mandatory. The points discussed in this article can help get guidance in this regard.