What’s The Difference Between Employment Law and Labor Law?

My firm, Mary Meeks, P.A., concentrates its practice in employment and labor law – representing both employees and employers.  While the terms “labor law” and “employment law” are sometimes used interchangeably, these terms describe two areas of law that are both related to the employment arena, but are separate and distinct with regard to the types of issues that they cover.

Labor law deals generally with the rights of groups of employees that form labor unions and enter into collective bargaining agreements with their employer.  These employees’ rights are governed by the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, and there are often disputes as to the interpretation and application of those contractual rights.  Florida is considered a “right to work” state, which means that employees may not be forced, nor forbidden, to join or financially support a union.

Employment law deals with the rights of individual employees and covers all legal issues relating to the employer-employee relationship.  These issues include disputes regarding hours, wages and other terms and conditions of employment, as well as issues relating to discrimination, harassment, bullying, whistleblower retaliation, and workplace violence.  Florida is considered an “at will” state, which means that employees are employed at the will of their employers (and thus can be fired for any reason) unless there is a contract or some applicable law that provides them with protection.

There are many complex laws and regulations that exist on the federal, state and local level that make up labor and employment law.  In forthcoming posts, I will explain these laws and will address some of the specific issues typical to these areas of law.  www.MaryMeeksLaw.com