The United States Department of Labor (DOL) administers and enforces almost 200 federal labor laws that cover a variety of workplace activities. From wages to family medical leave to occupational safety and health and many other concerns, these laws apply to approximately 10 million employees and 125 million workers. That said, when it comes to federal labor laws, one size does not fit all.
This article is the first in a three-part series, which lists federal labor laws by company size. Part one focuses on laws that apply to companies that have one or more employees. Subsequent articles in this series will focus on companies that have 15-20 or more employees and 50 or more employees.
This list below is not a full list of all federal laws that affect workplaces with more than one employee.
- Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA) – prohibits most private sector employers from using lie detector tests, either for pre-employment screening or during the course of employment, with certain exceptions. Employers generally may not require or request any employee or job applicant to take a lie detector test, or discharge, discipline, or discriminate against an employee or job applicant for refusing to take a test or for exercising other rights under the Act. Click here for more information. [NOTE: Employers are required to post this notice in a conspicuous place where employees and applicants can access it.]
- Equal Pay Act (EPA) – makes it illegal to discriminate in pay on the basis of gender. There were nearly 1,000 EPA complaints filed in 2017. [NOTE: Employers are required to post this notice in a conspicuous place where employees can access it.]
- Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) – establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards affecting employees in the private sector and in federal, state, and local governments. Department of Labor investigations in fiscal year 2018 found, on average, $1,150 for each employee due back wages. [NOTE: Employers are required to post this notice in a conspicuous place where employees can access it.]
- Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) – “Under federal law, employers are required to verify the identity and employment eligibility of all individuals they hire, and to document that information using the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9.” The Form I-9 must be made available for inspection by authorized government officers. In 2018, the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agency increased its inspections by 400 percent.
- National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) – states that both union and non-union employees have the right to organize and bargain collectively for wages, hours, and working conditions. Over 19,000 unfair labor practices complaints were filed by individuals, unions, or employers in 2017.
- Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act – requires employers to ensure healthy and safe workplaces for employees. The act also established the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which creates and enforces workplace health and safety standards. OSHA completed over 32,000 “programmed” and “unprogrammed” inspections in 2017. Fifty-six percent of the inspections were “unprogrammed,” meaning that they were the result of fatal/catastrophic incidents, complaints, or referrals. [NOTE: Employers are required to post this notice in a conspicuous place where employees can access it.]
- Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) – states that it is illegal for employers to discriminate, retaliate, or fire based on past, current, or future military service or status. During the fiscal year 2017, there were almost 1,000 unique USERRA complaints filed with the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS), the organization that administers USERRA.
- Whistleblower Protections protect workers against retaliation for filing certain complaints with their employers, unions, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), or other government agencies. [NOTE: Employers are required to post this notice in a conspicuous place where employees can access it.]
The second article in this series will focus on federal labor laws that apply to companies with 15-20 or more employees.
If you need help determining which federal laws apply to your workplace, contact us for help. If you need to purchase all-in-one federal and state posters, visit our online labor law poster store.