Know Your Rights: 10 Employment Laws You Should Always Be Aware Of

Whether you are just joining the workforce, or you have a hefty employment history, understanding how you are protected as an employee is crucial. Informing yourself on workplace laws that affect your safety and treatment could potentially save you or a loved one from wrongful treatment in the workplace. We’ve compiled 10 laws you should be aware of in order to keep your rights protected at work.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Established all the way back in 1938, this law was originally created to address the poor working conditions in American factories. Since then, the law has been amended numerous times, and currently functions to set limits on the number of hours in a workweek, outline overtime requirements, protect child labor regulations, and establish a national minimum wage.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Signed into law in 1993, this act entitles you to 12 weeks of unpaid leave with continuous job protection and healthcare coverage for certain medical reasons. These reasons include a personal medical condition, an immediate family member affected by a serious health condition, bonding with a new child, and pregnancy. Be aware that this does not cover all types of employees, so make sure you are clear about your eligibility when hired.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA)

HIPPA was introduced in 1996, and since then has grown rapidly. What you should be aware of as an employee is that this act protects you and your dependents from the release of any personal medical records and any discrimination based on your medical history.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)

OSHA was signed into law in 1970 to introduce safety standards for workers—drastically reducing the number of workplace accidents across America. Employers are required to meet safety guidelines and provide training on best practices to maximize employee safety. If you were injured at work, or you are concerned your employer isn’t following regulations, understanding OSHA standards is crucial.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act, passed in 1990, combats discrimination against people with disabilities and is focused entirely on equal opportunity. This equal opportunity includes being provided with “reasonable accommodations” to do the job properly.


The Civil Rights Act

This law, enacted in 1964, abolished segregation in public spaces and made it illegal to discriminate based on religion, race, or gender. It acted as a jumping-off point for other anti-discrimination laws, including the amendment to Title VII in 1972, which created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)

Established three years after the Civil Rights Act, this law specifically prohibits age discrimination in aspects of work—including hiring, firing, and promoting. If you believe you are a victim of age discrimination in the workplace, get in touch with our local law firm to discuss a potential lawsuit or claim.

Equal Pay Act (EPA)

As the name might suggest, this law (created as an amendment to the FLSA in 1963) aims to abolish wage disparity based on sex. It entitles men and women to equal pay for equal work. As you can imagine, this can be a difficult type of discrimination to prove if salary transparency is not practiced.

Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)

PDA was created in 1978 as an amendment to the Civil Rights Act, in order to put a stop to the discrimination that some pregnant individuals faced in the workplace. According to PDA, employers may not discriminate against job applicants or employees on the basis of pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions.

National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)

Originally created to help employees collectively bargain and form unions, the NLRA protects your right to talk about your working conditions without fear of retaliation—this includes discussing salary.

If you are concerned that your employment rights have been violated, there are many avenues you can explore to rectify the matter. The first is to always have an honest discussion with your manager and HR department. However, if this fails to deliver a satisfying outcome, there are many legal firms with extensive knowledge of employment law and dedicated to protecting your interests that you can contact.

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