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Labor Laws and Issues

Đang chơi bàiLearn about some important employment laws and issues.

enforces . These laws protect employees and job applicants against:

  • Discrimination, harassment, and unfair treatment in the workplace by anyone because of:

    • Race

    • Color

    • Religion

    • Đang chơi bàiSex (including gender identity, transgender status, and sexual orientation)

    • Pregnancy

    • National origin

    • Age (40 or older)

    • Disability

    • Genetic information

  • Đang chơi bàiBeing denied reasonable workplace accommodations for disability or religious beliefs

  • Retaliation because they:

    • Complained about job discrimination

    • Helped with an investigation or lawsuit

Filing a Complaint with State or Local Government or Tribal Employment Rights Office

To file a complaint, contact your .

Many state and local governments have their own anti-discrimination laws. These laws may offer extra protections beyond federal laws.

Đang chơi bàiSome state laws:

  • Đang chơi bàiApply to businesses with only five or six employees

  • Prohibit discrimination based on whether you're married or have children

  • Đang chơi bàiHave different deadlines for filing a charge

  • Have different standards for deciding whether you’re covered by them

Many state laws have more protections for nursing mothers than federal law requires. enforce these laws.

Filing a Lawsuit

Đang chơi bàiIf you're a victim of job discrimination or harassment, you can . If the discrimination violates federal law, you must first file a charge with the EEOC. (This doesn't apply to cases of unequal pay between men and women.)

Đang chơi bàiYou may decide to sue if the EEOC can’t help you. In either case, look for an attorney who specializes in employment law. You can check with:

Not All Employers Are Subject to EEOC Laws

Đang chơi bài This number varies based on the type of employer and the kind of discrimination alleged.

  • Businesses, state, and local governments must follow most EEOC laws if they have 15 or more employees.

  • Federal agencies must follow all EEOC laws, no matter how many employees they have.

Laws that the EEOC Enforces

Federal employment discrimination laws include:

  • Đang chơi bài (ADA) – prohibiting discrimination against workers with disabilities and mandating reasonable accommodations

  • (ADEA)

  • (Title VII) – prohibiting discrimination based on:

    • Race

    • Color

    • Religion

    • Đang chơi bàiNational origin

    • Đang chơi bàiSex (including sexual orientation and gender identity). Learn more about for LGBTQ workers. These protections apply regardless of any contrary state or local laws.

  • Đang chơi bài (EPA) – requiring equal pay for equal work by men and women


is unwelcome conduct based on:

  • Race

  • Color

  • Religion

  • Sex

  • Đang chơi bàiNational origin

  • Age

  • Pregnancy

  • Disability

  • Đang chơi bàiGenetic information

Đang chơi bàiIt can include:

  • Offensive jokes

  • Đang chơi bàiPhysical assaults or threats

  • Đang chơi bàiRidicule or insults

  • Đang chơi bàiDisplay of offensive objects or pictures

may include:

  • Unwelcome sexual advances

  • Requests for sexual favors

  • Other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature

  • Offensive remarks about a person's sex

Harassment becomes illegal when:

  • It creates a hostile or abusive work environment

  • Đang chơi bàiThe victim gets fired or demoted for refusing to put up with it

Protection from Retaliation

Đang chơi bàiEEOC laws protect employees and job applicants from . For example, it’s unlawful to punish people for:

  • Filing or being a witness in an EEO charge or investigation

  • Đang chơi bàiTalking to a supervisor or manager about discrimination or harassment

  • Refusing to follow orders that would result in discrimination

  • Resisting sexual advances, or intervening to protect others

Request a Copy of a Federal Background Check or an Identification Record

The FBI website has information on how to request a .

Following the information on how to request a federal background check, you'll find information on how to challenge inaccurate or incomplete information that appears on your record.

Arrest Records

If you are looking for information on arrest records, contact the appropriate law enforcement agency.

is a federal labor law that allows an eligible employee to take an extended leave of absence from work.

Situations Included Under FMLA

  • Illness
  • Caring for a qualifying sick family member
  • The birth or adoption of a child
  • Military caregiving or other emergencies related to a family member's active duty service

This unpaid leave is guaranteed by law and is available to workers at companies with 50 or more employees. can help you understand your rights and coverage.

Questions or Reporting a Violation of the FMLA

Đang chơi bàiIf you have unanswered questions about the FMLA or you believe someone has violated your rights under FMLA, for assistance.

Employer Responsibilities Under FMLA

Đang chơi bàiEmployers with FMLA eligible employees have specific under the law. Learn  by the FMLA.

Đang chơi bàiIf you are an employer with concerns about false FMLA leave, with any questions about FMLA compliance and seek the advice of your company's legal and human resources departments.

is an independent federal agency. It oversees and protects the rights of most private-sector (non-government) employees. The NLRB helps employees determine whether to have unions as their bargaining representative.

  • You or your co-workers can start, join, or end union representation by filing a . Your petition must show the support of at least 30 percent of your fellow employees.
  • If you have a complaint about a union, contact your nearest .
  • The NLRB does not handle certain forms of employment discrimination including:
    • Race
    • Sex
    • Workplace safety
    • Entitlement to overtime pay
    • Family and medical leave

Visit the to see which state or federal agency can help with your specific complaint.

Federal and State Government Employee Unions

  • If you’re a federal employee and have a question or complaint about federal unions, contact the . The FLRA an independent federal agency responsible for the labor-management relations program. It establishes policies and resolves disputes for most federal employees and their managers.
  • If your federal agency doesn’t have a union, you and your co-workers can start one. Contact an and file a .
  • If you’re a state or local government employee and have a question about unions, contact the information officer of the closest to your job. 
administers and enforces some of the nation's most comprehensive labor laws. They include:

Minimum Wage

  • Đang chơi bàiThe federal minimum wage is the lowest legal hourly pay for many workers. Tipped employees may have a different wage.

  • Đang chơi bàiThe minimum wage is $7.25 per hour for  as of July 24, 2009. Learn more about the minimum wage in the .

  • Many states and cities also have minimum wage laws. Where federal and state laws have different rates, the higher wage applies. and its .

  • Đang chơi bàiContact your with questions about minimum wage.

Overtime Pay

Đang chơi bàiAn employer may require or permit a worker to work . The states that workers who clock more than 40 hours per week are to get overtime pay. There are few exceptions to this rule.

  • for overtime pay guidance.
  • Visit the for exemption classifications and state legal tools.


An employer says a worker is an independent contractor. The law says the worker is an employee. That's misclassification, which can:

  • Đang chơi bàiAffect a worker’s pay, protections, and benefits

  • Đang chơi bàiCause tax problems for both businesses and workers

Resources and Next Steps

  • See a about misclassification.
  • Find .
  • If you’ve been misclassified,  for more information. Or  with the Department of Labor.

Learn About Your State's Labor Laws

Labor laws vary by state. Contact the state government for information about specific laws where you work.

  • Business owners: Check out the Small Business Administration's .
 at 1-800-746-1553 or file online to .
  • Interstate Trucking:
    • For complaints about safety issues on the road, such as being forced to drive in unsafe conditions, fill out the online  or call 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238).
    • If you have a complaint about safety issues occurring inside a trucking building or facility, there are a variety of ways for workers to  with the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). 
  • Aviation: Contact the  or use the .
  • Most Other Industries:  with the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). Please note: OSHA may refer you to a state agency.
  • Workers’ Safety Rights

    As an employed worker, you’re entitled to certain  - especially ones that keep you safe. These include the right to:

    • Be trained in a language that you understand
    • Be provided with the necessary safety equipment
    • Report injury or illness
    • Voice your concern over unsafe working conditions without fear of retaliation

    In order to improve safety in the workplace, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) .

    Đang chơi bàiAs of January 1, 2017, certain employers are required to electronically submit injury or illness data. Doing this allows OSHA to improve enforcement of workplace safety requirements and provide valuable information online for workers, job seekers, customers, and the general public. The new rule also prohibits employers from discouraging their workers from reporting an injury or illness.

    can help you file a claim. If your claim is denied, you can appeal.

    Longshore and Harbor Workers, Coal Miners, Nuclear Weapons Workers, and Federal Employees

    Federal laws protect longshore and harbor workers, coal miners, nuclear weapons workers employed by the Department of Energy (DOE) or a DOE contractor, and federal employees. Contact the that applies to you for help filing a claim.

     for more information on wrongful termination laws in your state.
  • Seek legal counsel if your employer terminated you for any reason not covered under state or federal law.
  • You may also be eligible for .
  • Employers

    Đang chơi bàiIf you are an employer seeking information about legal termination of employees, you may wish to contact both the  and your  to ensure you do not violate any federal or state labor laws. You may wish to consult with a licensed attorney.

    website helps you:

    • : Select your age and learn what work you’re allowed to do and when you’re allowed to work.  

    • Đang chơi bài: Learn how to file a complaint.

    Đang chơi bàiYouth Rules also helps employers, parents and educators stay informed. The rules for young employees are different depending on your age and the . When federal and state rules are different, the rules that provide the most protection apply.

    Safety and Health Standards for Teens on the Job

    Employers must follow all  standards. These help protect you from injury at work.

    • Provide a hazard-free workplace

    • Give you training on potential workplace safety issues

    • Provide you with resources to answer your questions on safety or health in the workplace

    • Đang chơi bàiTell you what to do if you get hurt on the job  

    OSHA provides , including information on how to protect yourself in jobs in:

    • Restaurants

    • Đang chơi bàiAgriculture

    • Construction

    • Đang chơi bàiLandscaping

    Civil Rights Protections for Teens at Work

    , a division of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC),  will help you:

    • Learn your rights as a young worker

    • Identify workplace discrimination

    • Learn what laws are enforced by the EEOC

    • Đang chơi bàiFile a complaint if you suspect workplace discrimination

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    Đang chơi bàiLast Updated: November 23, 2020