Understanding employment law is essential for human resources professionals, as well as managers of employees. Northwest Missouri State University’s online MBA programs each include a course on employment law, which covers federal and state laws. The course emphasizes how federal laws influence most state and local employment laws and impact private sector employees and their employers. The course also focuses on how workers’ rights during recruitment, selection, placement and retention are protected by federal and state laws.
For current and aspiring human resource professionals, Northwest’s MBA in HR Management Online offers a course in Advanced Human Resource Management. This course adds to the employment law foundation with a special emphasis on legal and ethical concerns.
Why Is It so Important to Know the Law?
Employment law exists for the dual protection of employees and employers. Our laws reflect the needs of our broad economy and the individuals and organizations that drive it. They also reflect the values of our society and the belief that a strong economy must be balanced with quality of life for workers. In order for these laws to have their intended consequences, both employers and employees must have a sound understanding of the regulations in place and the application of the regulations to all parties involved.
To ensure fair and safe workplaces: Employment laws have been enacted to ensure fair and safe workplaces and to guarantee equal treatment under the law for all employees. The law accomplishes this by preventing abuse of power in the master-servant relationship under which employees and employers operate. It does so in a variety of ways, including protecting underage children from working and preventing discrimination of employees based on age, race, gender, sexual preference or other criteria that are not work-related.
To promote economic stability: Employment law ensures the rights of employers to compete in their respective marketplaces by earning revenues and profits. It also preserves employees’ rights to compensation that can be spent and invested, as well as benefits to protect health and wellness. By promoting the best possible conditions for both organizations and workers to thrive, employment laws are indispensable in promoting economic stability.
What Legal Areas Should Managers Understand?
The U.S. Department of Labor administers and enforces more than 180 federal laws governing more than 10 million employers and 125 million workers. These laws influence state and local laws as well, which cover a wide spectrum of considerations. These are some of the core areas of federal labor laws:
Wages and Hours: The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) contains the provisions for wages and overtime pay that affect both private and public employment. This includes a federal minimum wage, overtime pay requirements, restrictions against child labor, and conditions under which non-citizens may work in the United States.
Workplace Safety and Health: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) promotes safety and health standards in the workplace. Since 1970, it has passed many laws that have dramatically diminished the rates of workplace fatalities, injuries and diseases. OSHA enforces these laws through workplace inspections and investigations.
Employee Security: The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) regulates employer pension and welfare benefit plans. It imposes a range of financial and disclosure requirements on employers who have such plans, and its provisions pre-empt many similar state laws.
Worker Unions: The Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) regulates the relationship between unions and their members. It requires labor organizations to file annual financial reports, report labor relations practices and establish standards for the election of union officers.
Employment law ensures the vitality of employers, employees and the U.S. economy. To these ends, educating professionals in employment law is a chief mission of Northwest’s MBA programs.
Learn more about Northwest Missouri State University’s online MBA in HR Management.