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Employment law is a broad area encompassing all areas of the employer/employee relationship. Employment law consists of thousands of federal and state statutes, administrative regulations, and judicial decisions. Many employment laws (such as minimum wage regulations) were enacted as protective labor legislation. Other employment laws take the form of public benefits, such as unemployment compensation.

Some major areas of employment law include employment discrimination, unemployment compensation, and pensions.

Employment Discrimination

Employment discrimination laws seek to prevent discrimination by employers based on a number of characteristics including race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, physical disability, and age. Discriminatory practices include bias in hiring, promotion, job assignment, termination, compensation, retaliation, and various types of harassment.

Unemployment Compensation

Unemployment insurance provides workers, whose jobs have been terminated through no fault of their own, monetary payments for a given period of time or until they find a new job.


Upon retirement many workers continue to receive monetary compensation from their employer in the form of a pension. There are two main types of pensions.

  1. defined benefit plan,
    1. The benefit that an employee receives is normally based on the length of a workers employment and the wages that were received. An employee typically need not make contributions to this plan.
  2. defined contribution plan
    1. The employer makes regular deposits into an account established for each employee. The employee is not guaranteed to receive a given amount during retirement but only the amount in the account.

Further Reading

For more on employment law, see this UCLA Law Review article, this University of Wisconsin Law Review article, and this St. John's Law Review article.


menu of sources

Federal Material

U.S. Constitution and Federal Statutes

Federal Agency Regulations

Federal Judicial Decisions

U.S. Constitution

State Material

State Statutes

State Judicial Decisions

International Material

Conventions and Treaties

Other References

Key Internet Sources

Useful Offnet (or Subscription - $) Sources

  • Good Starting Point in Print: Mark A. Rothstein et al., Rothstein, Craver, Schroeder, Shoben, and Vander Velde's Hornbook on Employment Law, West Group (2004)

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