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What is employment law and why is it important? That is the questions that this paper is going to discuss. This paper will go over the history of a few of the important acts that have been passed over the years to protect employees in the United States. This will also discuss the major protections that these acts provide and who are eligible for that protection. As well as what are the differences between an independent contractor and an employee. Lastly this will discuss what are the necessary steps a worker do to obtain protection under one of the acts.
The first act is the Pregnancy Discrimination Act; this act was put in to place in 1978 as an amendment to title VII.5. According to Cheesman, “This amendment forbids employment discrimination because of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Thus, a work rule that prohibits the hiring of a pregnant women violates Title VII” (2007).
The second act is the Americans with Disabilities Act; this act was signed into law on July 26, 1990 and is the largest civil rights legislation since the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Cheesman states that, “The ADA imposes obligations on employers and providers of public transportation, telecommunications, and public accommodations to accommodate individuals with disabilities” (2007).
The next act is the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; this act was enacted in 1967. “Primarily, employers have often refused to hire older workers. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), prohibits certain age discrimination practices” (Cheesman, 2007). At the time some employers would use age as a criteria for new hiring’s.
Another act is the Family and Medical Leave Act; this act was passed through Congress in February of 1993. This act allows employees an unpaid leave of absence for any medical emergencies. “The act, which applies to companies with 50 or more workers as well as federal, state, and local governments, covers about half of the nation’s workforce” (Cheesman 2007).
The last act is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; this act was created to eliminate job discrimination based on five protected classes, race, color, national origin, sex and religion.
Ok so there is the history of the acts but what exactly does they each protect? With the Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits a company from making a rule stating that they will not hire a pregnant woman or a woman that has recently given birth.
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So are there any differences between an independent contractor and an employee, absolutely. There are many differences from an independent contractor and an employee for one thing a contractor is exactly what the name says, independent. A contractor is hired to do a duty for the principle and is not required to answer to the principle. Also as Cheesman states, “Independent contractors usually work for a number of clients, have their own offices, hire employees, and control the performance of their work” (2007). Most independent contractors are considered sole proprietors and have control over the jobs that they accept and reject. Employees on the other hand have to answer to the principle and obey the regulations and requirements of the employer. Also the employee works out of the office of the employer and is not a sole proprietor. Cheesman claims, “The crucial factor in determining whether someone is an independent contractor or an employee is the degree of control the principal has over the agent” (2007).
What is necessary to obtain protection under one of the acts listed above? Its is fairly simple really, all that is required is for the individual to be an employee or seeking employment to find the protection that these acts provide. If there is any individual that has received any discrimination for anything mentioned above then there is coverage for that individual. An employee or worker does not have to fill out an application for that protection or wait for an open enrollment to come around it is already in place and available if a situation arises that would warrant a suit against a company or organization.
This paper has gone over just a few of the acts that are out there that provide protection for employees and anyone seeking employment. The discussion has explained all the reasons for the acts to be put into place and passed into law. Also it described the differences of an independent contractor and an employee. Lastly this paper advised the reader that anyone that is involved in the workforce either a member as an employee or someone seeking employment would be protected and covered by the acts tat have been discussed in this paper.
Cheeseman, H. R. (2007). The Legal Environment of Business and Online Commerce: Business Ethics, E-Commerce, Regulatory, and International Issues (5th ed.). Ch 19, : Prentice Hall, Inc..
Cheeseman, H. R. (2007). The Legal Environment of Business and Online Commerce: Business Ethics, E-Commerce, Regulatory, and International Issues (5th ed.). Ch 20, : Prentice Hall, Inc..
Cheeseman, H. R. (2007). The Legal Environment of Business and Online Commerce: Business Ethics, E-Commerce, Regulatory, and International Issues (5th ed.). Ch 21, : Prentice Hall, Inc..