Federal and state employment laws often work in tandem to set standards, provide legal protection, and regulate employer and employee matters. California's employment and labor laws are a testament to this combination. Below is an overview of the primary laws that guide employee rights in Los Angeles and throughout California.
Federal Employment Laws
Employment and labor laws set the legal parameters for employment contracts, torts, equal employment opportunities, wages and hours, health and safety, employee benefits, union organization and collective bargaining. Employment and labor laws are based on numerous federal laws–those most relevant to workplaces in California include:
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – The ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in several areas, including employment, transportation, public accommodations, communications and access to state and local government' programs and services.
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.
- Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) – The FLSA establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards affecting employees in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments.
- Taft-Hartley Act – The Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, better known as the Taft–Hartley Act, is a federal law that restricts the activities and power of labor unions. The Taft–Hartley Act prohibits certain types of strikes and boycotts, and sets forth restrictions on picketing, closed shops and monetary donations by unions to federal political campaigns.
- Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) – The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 is a federal law that sets minimum standards for most voluntarily established pension and health plans in private industry to provide protection for individuals in these plans.
- Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) – The LHWCA is a federal law that provides for the payment of compensation, medical care, and vocational rehabilitation services to employees disabled from on the job injuries that occur on the navigable waters of the United States, or in adjoining areas customarily used in the loading, unloading, repairing, or building of a vessel.
- Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA) – The MSPA protects migrant and seasonal agricultural workers by establishing employment standards related to wages, housing, transportation, disclosures and recordkeeping. The MSPA also requires farm labor contractors to register with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) – The ADEA prevents age discrimination and provides equal employment opportunity under conditions that were not explicitly covered in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The ADEA also applies to the standards for pensions and benefits provided by employers, and requires that information concerning the needs of older workers be provided to the general public.
California Employment Laws
Federal laws generally take precedence over state laws when it comes to union organization. However, state and local laws often take priority for wage and hours, setting minimum wages, and defining overtime pay for workers. Often state laws expand on the minimum safety standards set by federal laws, providing requirements that are more rigid. Both federal and state laws protect employees against discrimination through their own regulatory bodies—under federal law, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and under California law, the Fair Employment and Housing Commission (FEHC).
Stay tuned for our next post about specific California employment laws dealing with minimum wages, overtime and discrimination. In the meantime, should you have questions about FMLA, FSLA or pension and health plans, don't hesitate to contact leading California employment lawyers at Kingsley & Kingsley. Call and speak to an experienced California lawyer toll-free at (888) 500-8469 or contact us via email.
Kingsley & Kingsley
16133 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 1200
Encino, California 91436
Local: 818-990-8300 (Los Angeles Co.)