Continuing with our Beginner’s Guide series, we turn next to labor and employment law. This area of the law has been prominent in the news over the past several months, particularly in light of the union stronghold of the Midwest, Michigan, becoming a right to work state with the passage of the Workplace Fairness and Equity Act. Further, the United States Supreme Court recently heard arguments in Vance v. Ball State University, which may redefine who is a “supervisor” under the purview of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Contrary to its relatively short title, labor and employment law encompasses many different topics, including harassment, discrimination, privacy, compensation, and unionization, among many others. As such, we have organized these helpful secondary sources according to topic.
1. For True Beginners
Christopher Thomas Anglim, Labor, Employment, and the Law: A Dictionary (1997)
Fred Steingold, The Employer’s Legal Handbook (1994- )
2. For Generalists
- Robert N. Covington, Employment Law in a Nutshell (2009)
- N. Peter Lareau, et al., Labor and Employment Law (2003- )
- Stephen F. Befort, Employment Law and Practice (2011)
- Mark A. Rothstein, Employment Law (2009)
- Mark W. Bennett, Donald J. Polden & Howard J. Rubin, Employment Relationships: Law & Practice (1998- )
3. For Those Interested in Labor-Specific Issues
- Douglas L. Leslie, Labor Law in a Nutshell (2008)
- N. Peter Lareau, National Labor Relations Act: Law and Practice (1999- )
- William W. Osborne, Jr., et al., Labor Union Law and Regulation (2003- )
- Theodore J. St. Antoine, Charles B. Craver & Marion G. Crain, Labor Relations Law: Cases and Materials (2011)
- Lee Modjeska & Abigail Cooley Modjeska, Federal Labor Law: NLRB Practice (1994- )
4. For Those Interested in Discrimination and Harrassment-Related Laws
- Mack A. Player, Federal Law of Employment Discrimination in a Nutshell (2009)
- Lex K. Larson & Jonathan R. Harkavy, Employment Discrimination (1994- )
- Alba Conte, Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Law and Practice (2010)
- Barbara Lindemann & Paul Grossman, Employment Discrimination Law (2012, 2007)
- Howard C. Eglit, Age Discrimination (1994- )
- EEOC Compliance Manual (1975- )
5. For Those Intereseted in Disability-Related Laws
- Ruth Colker & Adam A. Milani, Federal Disability Law in a Nutshell (2010)
- Peter A. Susser & Peter J. Petesch, Disability Discrimination and the Workplace (2011)
6. For Those Interested in Dismissal-Related Laws
- Lex K. Larson, Unjust Dismissal (1985- )
- Henry H. Perritt, Jr., Employee Dismissal Law and Practice (2006- )
- Melinda J. Caterine, et al., Employment at Will: A State-by-State Survey (2011)
7. For Those Interested in Privacy-Related Laws
- Matthew W. Finkin, Privacy in Employment Law (2009- )
- Media Law Resource Center, MLRC 50-State Survey: Employment Libel and Privacy Law (2003- )
8. For Those Interested in Compensation-Related Laws
- Ellen C. Kearns & Monica Gallagher, The Fair Labor Standards Act (1999)
- Paul J. Schneider & Brian M. Pinheiro, ERISA: A Comprehensive Guide (2012)
If any one of these resources seems interesting, but you are unable to visit the Law Library of Congress, we suggest visiting the WorldCat catalog to find these, and other, useful resources in a library near you.
Once you have used one of the secondary sources listed above to ground you in the concepts of this area of the law, you may be interested in reviewing the statutes and regulations that are the foundation of United States labor and employment law. As we have noted in past Beginner’s Guides, free digital copies of federal statutes, as printed in the United States Code, and federal regulations, as printed in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), can be found at the Government Printing Office’s Federal Digital System (FDsys) website.
Most federal statutes regarding employment and labor law can be found in Titles 29 and 42 of the United States Code, for example:
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 621, et seq.
- Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101, et seq.
- Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e, et seq.
- Civil Rights Act of 1991, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, et seq.
- Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 1161, et seq.
- Equal Pay Act, 29 U.S.C. § 206(d)
- Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201, et seq.
- Family and Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 2601, et seq.
- National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 141, et seq.
- Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. §§ 701, et seq.
- Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act), 29 U.S.C. §§ 2101, et seq.
Most federal regulations regarding employment and labor law can be found in Titles 20 and 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations. However, a researcher should keep in mind that several of the federal departments and agencies that deal with labor and employment law issues also issue agency-specific rules, guidance, and administrative rulings. These rulings can often be found on department and agency websites, which will be discussed in our next section.
Other Online Resources
In the last several years, an increasing amount of information regarding labor and employment law has been put online, particularly on the websites for the departments and agencies that administrate these federal statutes. Some websites of interest are:
- U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)
- U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
- National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
- U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), particularly the Civil Rights Division
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
For up-to-the-minute updates regarding labor and employment law, however, you might consider visiting a third-party blog. Although there are a multitude of helpful websites, some leaders in the field include:
- Workplace Prof Blog
- HR Policy Association (HRPA)
- Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM)
- Employment Policy Research Network (EPRN)
- Screw You Guys, I’m Going Home
- Labor & Employment Law Perspectives
- Employer Law Report
- The Delaware Employment Law Blog
- Connecticut Employment Law Blog
We wish you the best of luck with your research regarding labor and employment law. As always, feel free to contact the Law Library of Congress if you have any questions.