Employment Relationships and Worker Protection

Questions to Consider

Consider these questions while reading this module:

  • What is employment-at-will?
    • What employees are not considered "at will?"
    • What policy limits do some courts recognize that prevent the discharge of at-will employees?
  • Why does the federal government enact worker protection laws instead of leaving the treatment of workers to the states or their employers?
  • What federal statute:
    • governs hours and wages and child labor?
    • protects the health and safety of employees?
    • requires companies to notify workers and their communities of large lay-offs and plant closings?
    • provides limited retirement and death benefit to certain employees and their dependents?
    • encourages employers to set up private pension plans?
    • requires employers to pay unemployment taxes into programs administered by the states?
    • enables workers to continue company-sponsored health care policies after terminating their employment?
    • provides unpaid leave for health reasons or to care for a family member?
    • makes it unlawful for employers to hire illegal immigrants?
  • How do state worker's compensation programs work? How are benefits determined?
  • Do employees have any reasonable expectations of privacy for their e-mail and computer files? Phone conversations at work? What are the legal and ethical issues related to worker privacy?