What is Employment Legislation?

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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 07 January 2020
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Employment legislation refers to a body of laws that regulate the relationships between employers and employees. While the bulk of these laws are generally designed to protect workers, there are also some regulations that are imposed upon workers. Issues that are addressed by employment laws include discrimination, legal working ages, and safe working conditions. Violations of employment laws are usually civil matters, which are handled in civil courts or through administrative procedures.

Without regulations, numerous problems and conflicts could arise in an employer-employee relationship. Generally, workers bear the most risk of being treated unjustly, unfairly, or inhumanely. To prevent this from happening, in many societies there are laws that dictate the essential elements of the employment relationship. This includes issues such as minimum wages, safe working conditions, and discrimination.

The prevalence of employment legislation is due in large part to incidents in the past. There is a substantial amount of history recorded that details the manner in which employees have been mistreated over time. Unfortunately, due to the lack of employment legislation or the inability to enforce it, adverse conditions still exist in the present in some places.


Employment legislation is not consistent globally. The rights and regulations imposed on employers and employees in one place may drastically differ from those that are applicable in another place. In some instances, these laws allow people to be treated differently even within one jurisdiction. For example, in some states in the U.S., employees are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits only if their employers have more than a specified number of workers on the payroll.

Governments recognize that, in some cases, employers can be victims if preventative steps are not taken. For example, if there were not regulations regarding how injured employees handle their cases, there exists a great deal of likelihood that many would attempt to abuse the workers’ compensation system. As such, there are usually rules that determine how long a person has to report an injury and the circumstances, such as intoxication, that prevent him from receiving benefits.

Violations of employment legislation are generally civil. They are often handled by specific agencies that bear the responsibility of enforcing certain areas of the law or by civil courts. In most cases, there is no threat of punishments, such as probation or incarceration for breaking these laws.

Usually, the guilty party is punished by way of economic damages or with orders that prohibit or require her to act in a certain way. This is not always the case, however. Sometimes the violations are so gross or negligent that a court will impose harsh consequences on the guilty party.


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Post 1

It is very revealing how the power of unions has declined at the same times its lobbyists were scoring successes in terms of increased employment legislation. A lot of those abuses that unions formed to protect its members against in the first place have simply been legislated out of existence.

Child labor laws, laws governing how many hours people can be put to work, safety regulations and a lot of other things that have come through legislation can be counted as victories for workers. However, they have ultimately diluted the power of the unions that pushed for those reforms.

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