There are many laws designed to regulate the employer-employee relationship. Several are described below:
- National Labor Relations Act of 1935, which created collective bargaining in labor-management relations and limited the rights of management interference in the right of employees to have a collective bargaining agent. In essence, this act both legitimated and helped regulate labor union activities.
- Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which established a national minimum wage, forbade “oppressive” child labor, and provided for overtime pay in designated occupations. It declared the goal of assuring “a minimum standard of living necessary for the health, efficiency, and general well-being of workers.” Today these standards affect more than 130 million workers, both full‑time and part‑time, in the private and public sectors.
- Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, which established the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a Department of Labor agency charged with setting and enforcing standards for “safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women”1U. S. Department of Labor. “About OSHA.” Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Accessed June 25, 2019. and supporting this objective through outreach, training and public education. OSHA’s website—with content available in both English and Spanish—is a resource for both employers and employees. OSHA’s training programs include free on-site consultations for small and medium-sized businesses. An OSHA landing page for employees emphasizes workers’ right to a safe workplace and advises employees on when and how to file a complaint. As is true with complaints based on discrimination, the act provides protection against retaliation for voicing a concern or submitting a complaint. An employee who believes that he or she has been retaliated against in exercising his/her rights under this law has 30 days (from the alleged retaliation action) to file a whistleblower complaint. Key point: The act does not cover workers who are not employees. For more on how to interpret the employer-employee relationship, refer to Safety School’s “Who is covered (or not) by OSHA.”
- Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which requires employers to verify the identity and employment authorization of all new hires, whether they are citizens or non-citizens. Employers must do this by ensuring proper completion of Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States.
- Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, which requires businesses with fifty or more employees to provide up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave per year upon the birth or adoption of an employee’s child or in the event of serious illness to a parent, spouse, or child.