Employment laws have been implemented to protect both employers and employees. Statutes that govern the relationship between the employer and the employee have been around for a long time. The early statutes, especially in England and the U. S. , were to control and restrict workers. The earliest statutes on wages were implemented to set maximum wages. Other statutes prohibited strikes and formation of unions by workers.
Unlike earlier statutes, today’s statutes on wages set minimum wages. Employers also have to comply with some statutes if they employ someone outside their own family. So we can see some kind of movement from protecting the employers to the interest of the employees. These changes were brought about part by industrial revolution, which changed the nature and conditions of work and the workplace.
Due to use of heavy machinery, men, women, and children alike worked long hours, while others died or where disabled in accidents. Because of the way contract laws were interpreted, it was not possible for the workers to recover for their injuries or even keep their jobs if they brought forward a complaint. Because of all that, some states passed statutes to protect workers, set maximum workday for women to ten hours, and prohibited employment of children in certain industries.
Some of these laws were declared unconstitutional most of the time because they were interpreted as interfering with freedom of contract, which is guaranteed by the Due Process Clause of The Fourteenth Amendment of the U. S. Constitution. Today, state and federal laws give the government more power to regulate business. These laws recognize the power of an employer over an employee and the possible abuse of that power. We are going to go over employment laws in the next few minutes.