The statutory rights and protections of workers in the United States have evolved considerably over the country’s history. From child labor restrictions to a federally mandated minimum wage, many of these laws that we now take for granted were fought hard for. While some legislation designed to regulate the workplace are well known, others — many of significant importance — are less so.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed labor laws catalogued by the Department of Labor and consulted news reports to identify some of the lesser known laws, rights, and protections employees in the United States are entitled to. This list is for general information purposes only.
The laws on this list are designed to protect workers from workplace accidents and hazards, offer them recourse for unfair treatment, and provide them with a certain standard of privacy. However, these laws generally represent a bare minimum set of standards and do not protect against all behaviors or circumstances that some employees may find objectionable. As a result, it is important that American workers are discerning when choosing where to work, as labor laws do not necessarily offer protections from an unkind manager or overbearing boss. This is the American company with the worst reputation.
Many labor standards that are now common practice, such as the eight-hour workday, were fought for by labor unions. Union strikes throughout U.S. history have been instrumental in shaping policy related to workers’ rights. However, union participation has been declining for years in the United States, along with union influence. Currently, 10.8% of American workers belong to a union, down from over 20% in the early 1980s. Here is a look at the states with the strongest and weakest unions.