Definition of Labor Law
Labor law primarily concerns the rights and responsibilities of unionized employees. Some groups of employees find unions beneficial, since employees have a lot more power when they negotiate as a group rather than individually. Unions can negotiate for better pay, more convenient hours, and increased workplace safety. However, unions do not have limitless power. Leaders must treat all union members fairly and refrain from restricting union members' rights to speech, assembly, and voting powers.
Employers also must follow specific rules when dealing with union members. For example, employers may only negotiate with designated union representatives and must carefully any agreement between the union and the employer.
States are allowed to make their own laws concerning labor relations, but all of these laws must comply with the federal statute, known as the National Labor Relations Act.
Labor law can also refer to the set of standards for working conditions and wage laws. These laws, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act, prohibits child labor, and sets a minimum wage.
Terms to Know
Practice Area Notes
Many labor attorneys are either hired by unions or by the corporations that hire unionized employees. Most individuals would not hire a labor attorney unless they were thinking of organizing their own union.
Since states can make their own laws about unions, labor laws vary greatly between the states, or between industries. Some industries are required to allow employees to organize, but in other industries employees are specifically prohibited from unionizing. To learn more about the labor laws in your state, contact a qualified local labor attorney using the search tool below.
Related Practice Areas