Q:

Which aspects of employment are covered by law?

A:

Wages, work hours, environment and hiring practices are a few aspects of employment subject to employment laws, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Pregnancy protections, child labor and medical leave are also regulated by law. The DOL and individual state labor agencies propose and enforce employment regulations.

The Fair Labor Standards Act establishes a minimum wage for U.S. employees. Individual states can also set a minimum wage, and federal law dictates employees are entitled to the higher of the two, notes the DOL. It further indicates that employees are entitled to 1.5 times their pay rate for work performed in excess of 40 hours per week.

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration works to ensure the safety of chemicals, workplace equipment and training for U.S. employees. The agency requires that employers provide guidelines to educate employees about hazardous materials and situations in their workplaces as well as the protocols to deal with them, according to OSHA.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission oversees discrimination in the workplace. Hiring and promotion decisions must exclude considerations of race, color, national origin, age, religion, sex, disability, genetic information or anything else not directly tied to ability, according to the EEOC. Pregnancy is also protected, so employers may not fire, demote or otherwise punish employees for pregnancy. Workers with serious or chronic illnesses are also protected by law from adverse hiring and promotion decisions.

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