There are many federal laws governing employment relationships, and their restrictions and applications differ. Please refer to this quick reference guide for an overview of federal employment law:
Age Discrimination in Employment Act
- Prevents discrimination against older workers (40+ years old), or the exclusion of older workers from benefits such as health insurance.
- Does not prohibit the preferential treatment of older employees.
- Only applies to employers with 20 or more employees.
Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Prohibits workplace discrimination against disabled persons, if those persons can perform their jobs without unreasonable accomodations.
- Defines disability as an impairment (either physical or mental) that limits or prevents major activities such as work.
Fair Labor Standards Act
- Determines the breaks and work hours an employer is required to provide.
- Governs overtime and other federal salary requirements.
Family and Medical Leave Act
- Requires employers to allow employees a leave of absence (up to twelve weeks) for qualified medical purposes.
- Protects the employee’s position during the leave.
- Requires employees to work for the last twelve months, for at least 1,250 hours, prior to the leave in order to qualify.
- Prohibits hiring discrimination based on race, religion, skin color, sex, or national origin.
- Only applies to employers with 15 or more employees.