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Labor Law Vs. Employment Law

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

It is quite common for the terms labor law and employment law to be used interchangeably. While these phrases share common terminology, they are two distinct forms of the practice. However, there is some crossover between the two concepts. Employment law covers all laws, mandates, and regulations regarding the employee-employer relationship. Labor law typically focuses on laws dealing with unions, collective bargaining, and any other issues regarding organized labor. Knowing the differences between employment law and labor law can help employers and employees understand the details of each area better.

Employment law in detail

The relationship between employees and employers is the core of employment law. There are hundreds of employment laws at the federal, state, and local levels that affect this relationship. Employers can easily violate employment laws due to not knowing about or understanding what the law requires.

Minimum wage laws are one of the more visible aspects of employment law. These regulations come from both the federal and state levels in many jurisdictions, and employers also have obligations about paying overtime. Family and disability leave is another area covered by employment law.

Employment law also covers other aspects of the work place. Employers have certain obligations about keeping the workplace as safe as possible and must remove or mitigate workplace hazards. Regulations also require employers to keep the workplace free of harassment and discrimination.

In the past 50 years, the government has become much more involved with the employee-employer relationship. Disputes continue to arise about how employees are classified for wages, or whether they must be paid overtime or not. Harassment, discrimination, and hostile work environment allegations are also covered by employment law.

Labor law in detail

Labor law generally regulates the relationship between businesses and unions. The National Labor Relations Board is the federal agency that serves as an administrative body to regulate labor relations. Problems can arise in regards to collective bargaining, union contracts, labor strikes, and union organization disputes.

Texas is a “right to work” state, where someone can be hired without being part of a union or providing financial support to a union. This concept does not remove the union from many workplaces, but makes the relationship between businesses and unions different than in more union-friendly states. This labor practice has grown more complex over the years, even while the number of union members has decreased significantly. The complexity is due, in part, to the growth and influence of public labor unions.

Finally, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) now regulates many employer activities, even in non-unionized workplaces.

If you are an employer who needs help with an employment or labor law issue, contact the experienced attorneys at Brown & Fortunato Our Labor and Employment team brings substantial experience in representing employers in a range of employment-related subjects, including wage laws, disability laws, FMLA, and unemployment claims. Give us a call at (806) 345-6300 or stop by our offices at 905 S. Fillmore, Suite 400 in Amarillo, Texas. You can also contact us via email. Check out our website to learn more about our other practice areas. We look forward to answering any questions or concerns you may have.

This information is subject to change. Please check for updates that are more recent than the published date of this article.