What are the Different Types of State Employment Law?

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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 01 March 2020
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In the United States, some of the laws pertaining to employee-employer relationships are outlined by the US federal government. Each state, however, generally has the authority to develop occupational laws for its territory, as long as they do not violate federal regulations. States generally have laws for such areas as labor conditions, wages, and discrimination. Employment requirements, such as recertification or having to take refresher courses to keep a professional license, also may be included in state law. Rules for termination situations and unemployment insurance usually are included as well.

There is often a significant amount of state employment law that pertains to how wages are handled. The federal government has a minimum hourly wage for the entire nation, but some states have set higher minimums. State regulations also commonly deem certain actions illegal with regards to employee pay, such as withholding it as a means of punishment and requiring workers who receive gratuities to pool their money. This area of state employment law often sets rules for overtime as well.


Labor conditions are generally addressed by state employment laws as well. For example, this usually includes the rights of workers who are required to handle hazardous materials or who work in hazardous environments. How many hours a person is required to work to qualify as full or part time may be outlined as well. Break periods of certain lengths at certain intervals also may be mandated. The age at which minors can begin working and the type of work for which their labor may be utilized also is often a part of state employment law.

Employment discrimination, which refers to the act of treating people adversely in occupational settings for reasons such as sex, religion, or race is generally regarded as a very important area of state employment law. Allowing people to be judged or businesses to be operated on such unfair basis' is seen as a public harm. Therefore, states often outline discriminatory offenses, courses of action to take for remedy, and consequences for violators.

Occupational qualifications also are often a subject of state employment law. These regulations may outline the minimum amount of secondary education or training that is required for those who want to obtain certain types of jobs. Regulations my stipulate what a professional has to do and how often it must be done if he wishes to maintain a certain position as well. For example, nurses may be required to take refresher courses every three years.

State employment law commonly addresses the ending of employee-employer relationship as well. The conditions under which people can be fired and the proper procedure for doing so may be outlined. Many states have terminate-at-will policies that allow either the worker or the employer to end to the working relationship for any reason as long as it is not illegal. Each state also has an unemployment insurance program. State rules determine the qualifications of recipients, operation of the program, and handling of instances of employer retaliation for using it.


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