Employment law (EL) is a system that was set up to protect employees by instituting laws that require standards for employers to follow in the treatment of their employees. This can include providing benefits to the workers such as health insurance to the employee and their families. Employment law protects workers from being discriminated against because of race, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, or being a veteran. Employment law is a necessary system that the government can oversea to protect human rights in the workplace.
EL covers many topics between the employee and employer relationship. It is also called Labor Law. In most countries the employment law reflects to rights and obligations that are stated in a contract between employee and employer. There is usually a common law or legislation imposed in the contract. Many of the state laws in the United States do allow for employment that is called "at will" that states termination of employees can be for any reason except reasons that are illegal.
EL sets standards that employers must meet in providing a health and safe workplace for their employees. There are laws to keep employers from taking advantage of employees by overworking them, with no overtime pay.
Fair wages and prohibiting children from exploitation in the work place was a major first step in setting up employment law. Limiting weekly work hours and regulating workplace safety and cleanliness was an important change that was made.
The EL covers two types of laws of protection. The first collective labor laws, which is usually seen between the employers and the unions made up of employees. This area of the employment law covers such actions as union strikes, picketing and workplace involvement of the unions. The second type of employment law is individual labor law such as minimum wage, hours of work, safety in workplace, and dismissal of employees.
Less than one hundred years ago, employers could treat their employees any way they saw fit. Many times it was not to any workers benefit, as they were under abusive long hours through the workweek. The working environment was often times filthy at its best, making an unhealthy situation in the workplace. No benefits such as workers compensation or health insurance were in place and one could be fired at the whim of the employer at any time. Employment law is the direct result from the Industrial Revolution, when workers were unfairly treated. Abuse of child labor was also a result before employment law was instituted. It was clear after so much abuse of workers in the newly industrialized world that the government had to step in. This was the beginning of real change in the work place towards such abusive practices and has set a high standard that will be in place down through the ages.