What is employment law?
Employment law is a collection of different statutes, regulations and legal doctrines created over the years to govern the employment relationship. Before modern times, employment relationships were entirely “at-will” – meaning that either side could end the relationship at any time for any reason or no reason. Early last century, U.S. courts often ruled that the Constitution prohibited laws that tried to regulate the employment relationship.
Since then, many laws have been passed to reduce abuses and ensure equal opportunity in employment. The federal government took the lead in passing many of these laws, and even now one main source of employment law remains federal statutes first enacted in the mid-20th century.
In the 21st century, employment law has expanded and statutes have been passed by states and localities that cover almost every aspect of employment. Nevertheless, the relationship remains subject to mutual agreement in a number of key respects.
The modern employment relationship
Employment laws now cover everything from publicizing positions, reviewing applications, investigating candidate backgrounds, administering employment tests, selecting employees, compensating work, providing benefits, disciplining employees, and ending the employment relationship. The “at-will” employment doctrine still gives employers the right to manage employees, but companies are well-advised to have policies in place to minimize variation in how decisions are made. Of major significance are disciplinary and discharge decisions, as the law is particularly designed to root out discrimination and retaliation.
Navigating employment issues requires skilled representation.
If you have an employment law issue, the first step is to have knowledgeable and effective counsel on your side. Contact Jeff Rhodes to discuss how he can assist you with your situation.