Employment law encompasses all the government regulations regarding the rights of workers and employees. Basic labor laws include child labor laws, minimum wage, paid time, certain types of leave, workplace health and safety, hiring and firing regulations, as well as anti-discrimination and harassment laws. There are also certain laws for certain industries to protect workers against common injuries or responding to certain work conditions. Recruiters need to understand the basics of employment laws so that they can protect their candidates against rights abuses and protect their clients against lawsuits and fines by government agencies.
Wages and Overtime
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay a minimum wage, though the law does make exceptions for students. Employers must get a certificate from the government to pay workers less than the federal minimum wage. The FLSA also requires that employers pay workers who work more than 40 hours worked in a week overtime and one and half their normal pay rate. The act does not limit how much an employee can work, but they must be paid overtime.
Occupational Safety and Health
The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) governs the regulations for protecting workers against common safety and health issues in the workplace like exposure to toxic chemicals or using protective equipment. OSHA provides posters that explain worker’s rights under the law, and employers are required to display these posters. Employers are also required to keep records of all employee injuries and illnesses incurred on the job.
Family and Medical Leave
The US federal government also passed the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) that requires employers to allow employees to take unpaid leave for family and medical reasons like the birth of a baby or caring for a seriously ill family member. Employees can also elect to take paid leave at the same time as FMLA leave.
Under the supervision of the Equal Opportunity Commission, employers are also banned from discriminating during the hiring process on the basis of race, gender, religion, disability status or national origin. Women and men in the same position must also be paid the same wage. Recruiters can get more details on these laws from government websites.
While employees who have a problem with a legal employment issue should definitely contact a lawyer, many of them will turn to the recruiter for help first. Recruiters need to know what advice to give their candidates and have legal resources at hand. It may be a good idea for a recruiter to contact one or two employment attorneys so that they can refer candidates or clients.