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A Brief History of Employment Litigation in the United States

Published on Dec 30, 2019 at 4:00 pm in Employment Law.

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Not only should you feel comfortable at your job, but you should be aware of what your employer legally can and can’t do. That’s where employment litigation comes in. Employment law covers many different facets of a workplace, including workers’ comp, discrimination, medical leave, benefits, wrongful termination, and much more.

Since the full history of employment law is long and hard to understand, we’ve made a condensed version of the most influential documents you should know about. Employers and employees alike should have an understanding of how employment litigation works so that each party knows the legal parameters in case the law is broken.

Important Pieces of Employment Law Over the Years

Let’s start with the Thirteenth Amendment. Ratified in 1865, the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States. Not only was this amendment important for our country as a whole, but it was also important for employment law because it ensured that laborers are not owned by their employer and are not forced to work without compensation.

The next major step in employment litigation was decided by Commonwealth v. Hunt in 1842. Though they were allowed before, this case was the first to explicitly state that labor unions were legal in the United States. Labor unions protect employees by ensuring they have decent wages, hours, and working conditions, according to Union Plus.

To establish even more standards for workers, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 was passed. The FLSA established minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards. This act applied to both the private and public sectors. Effective July 24, 2009, the minimum wage in the United States was set at $7.25 per hour and is still the same at the end of 2019.

The most important part of employment litigation was Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited employment discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, and religion. The Age Discrimination Employment Act came later in 1967, which added that employers cannot discriminate based on age either.

Though controversial, Affirmative Action has also impacted employment litigation. As described by the U.S. Department of Labor, Affirmative Action ensures that people of protected communities, like minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and veterans, are actively recruited and advanced by their employers. Though some might call this preferential treatment, others say that Affirmative Action gives minority groups a better chance at advancing than they might have had before.

In an attempt to remove discrimination in the workplace and hiring even more, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was passed. ADA outlined how employers should handle employees with disabilities and ensures that these employees have proper accommodations in their workplace.

Later, the Civil Rights Act of 1991 amended the 1964 Act and added a new subsection to Title VII. The main changes were that parties could recover compensatory and punitive damages up to a statutory cap in Title VII and ADA lawsuits where discrimination was present.

We Will Advocate for You

If your employer has broken one of these labor laws, you need an employment lawyer who can lead you through what steps you need to take to get compensation for their illegal actions. You don’t have to tolerate being discriminated against in your workplace, and we can help you fight for justice.

At DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC, our experienced employment attorneys will be with you every step of the way to ensure you get the compensation you deserve for your mistreatment. We’ve successfully represented employees from various fields of work, so we’ll be able to expertly handle your case as well. Contact us today for a free consultation and evaluation of your potential claim.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice. Viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Prior case results do not guarantee a similar outcome.
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