Employment Law: Challenges & Trends

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  • 0:00 A Bad Workplace Situation
  • 0:41 What Is Employment Law?
  • 1:02 Challenges
  • 6:26 Trends
  • 8:15 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jessica Mercado

I completed my BA in Criminal Justice in 2015. Currently working on my MS in Homeland Security Management.

Ever wonder how you, as an employer or employee, are protected under employment law? This lesson will cover the main issues covered by employment laws, along with the trends you can expect to see in the near future.

A Bad Workplace Situation

Suppose you just started at a new place of employment. One of your coworkers introduces himself to you. He lets you know that he is there for you if you need anything. A week later, you ask him for help. He winks at you and smiles, and says, 'What will you give me in return? How about coming to my place later?' You are disgusted and insulted. He continues to make sexual innuendos at you for a month before you decide to file a complaint. You do your research and know that you are protected under employment laws against sexual harassment. Let's look at some other employment law challenges and trends.

What Is Employment Law?

Employment law is also referred to as labor law and its purpose is to oversee the duties and rights that occur between employers and the workers they employ. The employment law ensures that workers are treated fairly and are kept safe while under the employment of a workplace. The law, however, also can be used to protect the interests of the employer.


Let's now take a look at some of the challenges involved with the implementation of employment law.

Minimum wage is a national federal minimum requirement that employers must pay their employees. It's based on the hourly work time that employees are clocked in. As of July 24, 2009, the national minimum wage rate is $7.25 an hour. However, some states and cities may have their own minimum wage laws that include a higher minimum wage rate. Because of economic changes each year, the minimum wage has been a controversial issue on whether the rate should reflect those changes each year. In April, the Wage Act of 2017 was proposed to be introduced to raise the wage rate to $15 an hour. It would include an eight-step process that would raise the rate by 2024, and by 2025 would change the rate each year to match the changes in the economy.

Sexual harassment in a workplace occurs when there are unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors, a hostile work environment, or a victim is fired or demoted because of unwillingness to give in to sexual advances. The offender and victim can be either gender or the same gender and can be a boss, a coworker, or a customer. Sexual harassment is in direct violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) conducts the investigation into the claim. The 2016 allegations of sexual harassment committed by the CEO Roger Ailes, is a recent example of a violation of the Civil Rights Act. Gretchen Carlson claimed she was wrongfully terminated by Ailes because she denied his sexual advances. Due to the string of allegations and lawsuits that followed Carlson's initial claim, internal investigations were conducted and Ailes was fired.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) is the employment law that ensures the safety of employees is maintained. If employees face issues such as unsafe machinery, not being given safety gear to perform duties, no protection against chemicals, not having injuries reported, or not having access to injury report logs, they have the right to report the issue to OSHA without concern of losing their jobs.

Workers' Compensation Law ensures that an employee who's injured on the job continues to receive pay while recovering. It also provides compensation to family members in the case of death and protects liability of coworkers. Employers are also protected in order to prevent employees from trying to receive more compensation than what is warranted. Issues can arise if the employee doesn't file a claim within two years of the incident, the employee doesn't receive medical care for the injury, the report doesn't match the injury, or the employer does not believe the injury occurred on the job. These issues can prevent compensation from being given.

If a full-time employee works more than 40 hours a week for a company that permits overtime, then the employee must receive overtime pay. Issues can arise when an employer does not pay the employee correctly for the overtime worked. You as an employee are not being correctly compensated for your hours worked if you are getting paid the same rate for all hours worked rather than time and a half for the overtime hours, not getting paid at all for overtime hours, having to clock in or clock out before you are finished with your work in order to avoid overtime pay, receiving bonuses as compensation for overtime, and being made to work from home but not getting paid for it.

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