Special Report

The Labor Laws Your Boss Doesn't Want You to Know About

Thomas C. Frohlich, John Harrington

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Construction rules

Construction workers are protected by Executive Order 11246 and the anti-kickback provision of the Copeland Act. The executive order requires federal construction contractors and subcontractors, and those who assist them, to provide equal employment opportunities. Under the anti-kickback section of the Copeland Act, workers are protected from threats or dismissal from a job from anyone who demands that the worker surrender compensation.

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Protecting longshoremen

The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, passed in 1927, is intended to help workers who were injured, or the families of workers who were killed, during maritime-related employment by providing workers’ compensation benefits.

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Transit workers rights

The rights of mass transit employees are protected under the Federal Transit law, which was updated in 1978. The law includes preserving rights and benefits under collective bargaining agreements.

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Plant closing warning

The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act (WARN), passed in 1989, requires companies to provide employees with 60 days written notice of job reductions related to layoffs or plant closings. The act was passed to enable workers time to adjust to possible downsizing and seek other employment.

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Garment industry worker rights

Up until the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist fire in 1911 in New York City, which prompted a series of protection laws, garment workers have toiled under terrible conditions. Employees of garment shops must be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked, whether they are paid by the hour or by piece. Time spent training or doing repairs is also considered paid time.