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PRDV205: Business Law and Legal Procedures

Unit 6: EMPLOYMENT LAW   The employer-employee relationship is a key one in the business world.  Until relatively recently, within the last one hundred years or so, this relationship was almost completely unregulated.  Even to this day, the central concept of most employment relationships in the United States is “at-will employment,” in which an employer can generally fire an employee for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all.  (Similarly, an employee can leave a job for any reason.)  Historically, the employment-at-will doctrine has favored employers more than employees, as the employer usually has more bargaining power than the employee.  However, recently implemented regulations do offer more protection to employees.  For example, a comprehensive body of law protects employees from illegal discrimination based on, for example, race, ethnicity, or religion.  In addition, federal laws also protect the right of workers to organize into labor unions and engage in collective bargaining with employers.  This unit explains these concepts further and examines other laws and regulations that protect employees, such as health and retirement account laws.

Unit 6 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 3 hours to complete.

Unit6 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you should be able to:
- identify important laws and regulations in employment law; - distinguish between at-will and contractual employment; and - describe important laws dealing with collective bargaining.

6.1 At-Will Employment   - Reading: Government Regulation and the Legal Environment of Business: “Chapter 18, Section 2: Employment at Will” Link: Government Regulation and the Legal Environment of Business: “Chapter 18, Section 2: Employment at Will” (PDF)

 Instructions: Read Chapter 18, Section 2 of the textbook.  In
countries with common law, including the United States, the doctrine
of *employment-at-will* has been the traditional approach to
relationships between employers and employees for hundreds of
years.  But this approach has been significantly modified in
legislatures and courts since the middle of the
20<sup>th</sup>century.  As you read this section, be sure you
understand what the traditional understanding of employment-at-will
has been in common law, and then familiarize yourself with the
recent ways in which the doctrine has been modified by courts.  

 Reading this textbook section should take approximately 30
minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under
a [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) without
attribution, as requested by the work’s original creator or
licensee.

6.2 Antidiscrimination Laws   - Reading: Government Regulation and the Legal Environment of Business: “Chapter 18, Section 1: Federal Employment Discrimination Laws” Link: Government Regulation and the Legal Environment of Business: “Chapter 18, Section 1: Federal Employment Discrimination Laws” (PDF)

 Instructions: Read Chapter 18, Section 1 of the textbook.  One way
in which the employment-at-will doctrine has been modified over the
years has been through the setting of laws that protect certain
classes of people against employment discrimination.  This reading
will introduce you to laws in the United States that protect
employees from discrimination on the basis of race, sex, ethnic
background, religion, disability, or age.  In addition, you will
learn about the important legal distinction between disparate
treatment of protected classes (such as racial or ethnic minorities)
and disparate impact of particular actions on protected classes.  As
you read, pay particular attention to the basis for affirmative
action laws and the limits of such regulations in the US legal
system.  When you have finished this reading, complete the four
exercises following the “Key Takeaways” box at the end of this
section.  

 Reading this textbook section and completing the exercises should
take approximately 1 hour.  

 Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under
a [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) without
attribution, as requested by the work’s original creator or
licensee.

6.3 Health, Safety, and Fairness Laws   - Reading: Government Regulation and the Legal Environment of Business: ”Chapter 18, Section 3: Other Employment-Related Laws” Link: Government Regulation and the Legal Environment of Business: ”Chapter 18, Section 3: Other Employment-Related Laws” (PDF)

 Instructions: Read Chapter 18, Section 3 of the textbook.  Over the
last century, many laws have been passed that give employees greater
protection in a variety of areas on the job.  Some of these laws,
for example, address the handling of pensions and other retirement
programs set up for the benefit of employees.  In addition, all
states have enacted worker-compensation laws in order to protect the
financial interests of employees when they are injured on the job. 
More generally, both the federal and state governments have enacted
a body of laws meant to protect worker health and safety.  This
reading will provide you with a concise introduction to these types
of laws and their application in the workplace.  

 Reading this textbook section should take approximately 30
minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under
a [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) without
attribution, as requested by the work’s original creator or
licensee.

6.4 Collective Bargaining   - Reading: Government Regulation and the Legal Environment of Business: “Chapter 19, Section 3: Labor and Management Rights under the Federal Labor Laws” Link: Government Regulation and the Legal Environment of Business: “Chapter 19, Section 3: Labor and Management Rights under the Federal Labor Laws” (PDF)

 Instructions: Read Chapter 19, Section 3 of the textbook.  This
reading covers legal rights under collective bargaining processes
and agreements.  *Collective bargaining* refers to the process by
which labor unions gain the right to negotiate and bargain with
management on behalf of all the employees of a given organization. 
Laws governing collective bargaining also grant employers certain
rights.  As you progress through this reading, make sure you
understand the role of the National Labor Relations Board, or NLRB,
in the process of collective bargaining.  Also make sure you
understand the various rights and duties of each side as managers
and employees navigate the employment relationship.  

 Reading this textbook section should take approximately 1 hour.  

 Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under
a [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) without
attribution, as requested by the work’s original creator or
licensee.