What Is Employment Law?

Employment law covers a vast range of issues and topics. It includes employment contracts, statutory rights and protections from discrimination. It also deals with working conditions and wages.


The main aim of this area is to support both employers and employees equally. It helps businesses to operate smoothly and prevents them from harming their employees.

Employment contract

Employment contracts are documents that outline the terms and conditions of an employee’s work. They often include information such as the employee’s salary and the start and end dates of employment. They also describe other aspects of the job, such as benefits and responsibilities. Employment contracts should be reviewed by an attorney to ensure that they are fair and legal.

The contract also outlines the employee’s rights, such as their right to quit if they are not happy with the company or the conditions of the job. It should also state whether the job is full or part time, and whether it is permanent or temporary. It should also state the location of the job and what type of work is involved. In addition, the employer may request that the employee sign a noncompete agreement to prevent them from working for competitors after leaving the company.

A contract may also lay out the employee’s severance pay, if applicable. It should also state that the employer may terminate the contract “for cause,” which means that it can fire the employee if the company believes that they have done something wrong. Cause can be a broad term, including anything from a bad attitude to a poor work ethic.

Employment contracts often require the employer to choose a specific law that governs the contract. Employers who have employees in many states may prefer to choose a specific law to avoid conflict and litigation.


Discrimination in the workplace happens when you are treated less favourably than others for a reason that is prohibited by law. This can include a variety of situations from being paid less than a colleague for doing the same job, to being denied training opportunities because of your ethnic background or gender. The laws prohibit discrimination based on your race, colour, religion, national origin or ancestry, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), age, sexual orientation, family medical history or genetic information, disability and veteran status. The law also protects you against a type of discrimination called disparate impact, where an employer’s rule or practice creates barriers to employment and negatively affects members of protected classes more than it does other people.

There are many types of behaviour that can be considered discrimination, including verbal insults and jokes, a lack of promotion or advancement, being denied a reasonable workplace accommodation or health benefit, or retaliation for complaining about a prohibited act, filing a discrimination complaint or helping with a discrimination proceeding. It is against the Code to take retaliatory action against you, even if your employer has a legitimate business reason for the action.

To be illegal, discrimination must be based on one of the protected classes and it must result in adverse consequences that would be obvious to a reasonable person. The problem is that it can be very difficult to find direct evidence of discrimination in the workplace, unless there is a “smoking gun” like an overtly racist text message or a manager telling you that they are firing you because you are nearing retirement age.

Termination of employment

Termination of employment can be an emotional and stressful time for both the employer and employee. It is important to follow proper procedures to ensure a fair and lawful process for both parties. This includes providing notice, allowing an opportunity to appeal the decision, and offering exit pay. It also involves supporting the departing employee and ensuring that any company assets are returned.

Employers must consider whether there is an individual contract or collective bargaining agreement that lays out an employee’s rights. These agreements may override the general state of “employment at will.” If you have a union employee, for example, you might need to comply with their contract. If you do, you must carefully document your reason for terminating the employee and any evidence you have of wrongdoing before firing them. This could protect you from wrongful termination lawsuits in the future.

When terminating an employee, be sure to meet with them in person. Doing so shows you respect them, and it prevents the employee from taking your comments as a personal attack. During this meeting, you should explain the reasons for termination and ask the employee to return any company equipment (keys, door pass, laptop, etc.). You should also escort them out of the building. It is best to avoid debate during this meeting, and decline any requests for more discussion or emotional responses.

Family and medical leave

Whether it’s to care for an ill family member or to welcome a new child, employees need time off from work. Access to paid leave can improve physical and mental health, reduce infant mortality, and increase women’s employment. Proponents of a national paid leave program argue that it would help workers meet their families’ health needs without jeopardizing their financial security or relegating them to lower-paying jobs.

Many states and cities have laws requiring employers to offer job-protected leaves for workers who are caring for a serious illness, having a baby, or bonding with a new child. These policies are based on research showing that paid leave can have positive impacts on health and wellbeing for the employee and their families.

Some states also provide paid sick leave during public health emergencies or to cover people who are survivors of domestic or sexual violence or organ or bone marrow donors. However, in practice, most employees do not have access to these benefits. Many employers do not provide sick leave at all, and those that do often require a doctor’s note to take leave.

In addition to regulating the hours employees can work, employment law dictates wage and hour minimums and overtime compensation. It also protects employees against harassment and discrimination in hiring, firing, promoting, training, determining salaries, and granting benefits.