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What Federal Laws Protect Workers’ Rights?

Both employers and employees in New Jersey are protected by laws that require certain standards in the workplace. These also apply to applicants of jobs. Employees are entitled to:

  • Privacy
  • The right to be safe from harassment and discrimination                           
  • The right to a workplace free of safety hazards  
  • The right to be free from retaliation
  • The right to a fair wage

To ensure that employers are meeting these standards, there are several federal laws in place that are almost always superior to state laws. The exception is if the state laws give the employee more protection such as a higher minimum wage.

For example, effective January 1st, 2020, New Jersey’s minimum wage requirement is $11.00 per hour, compared to the federal minimum wage of $7.25. 

If you know your rights, you can protect yourself from illegal behavior in the workplace.


Federal Laws Protect Workers’ Rights


Americans With Disabilities Act

This states that if you have a disability but are still able to perform the basic functions of your job with a reasonable accommodation, you cannot be discriminated against for your disability. The disability can be both mental or physical.

According to ada.gov: 

To be protected by the ADA, one must have a disability or have a relationship or association with an individual with a disability. An individual with a disability is defined by the ADA as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment. The ADA does not specifically name all of the impairments that are covered.


Family and Medical Leave Act

This act allows employees to have 12 weeks of leave for medical purposes. For this to be applicable, the employee must have been at the job for more than a year and the medical issue must meet certain qualifications such as the condition affecting your ability to perform your job duties.

For example: 

Family and Medical Leave ActImage provided by dol.gov


Fair Labor Standards Act

This act regulates the breaks employees should have, the length of days they can work, the employer’s overtime requirements and applicable salaries. Most of these standards are laid out by the federal government and the state must abide by them.

For example, employees must be compensated for overtime worked hours beyond 40 hours at a rate no less than time and one-half their regular rate. 


Age Discrimination In Employment Act

This act applies to companies with more than 20 employees and is only applicable to people over 40. It forbids employers from giving younger workers preferential treatment over older ones.

The law prohibits discrimination in any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.


Title VII – Civil rights Act of 1964

This act protects employees from being harassed in the workplace by other employees. It also protects employees from discrimination based on national origin, sex, religion, color or race.

This is for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.


Understanding how this can affect you and your business is part of our job here at Santomassimo Davis LLP, as we primarily focus on providing expert Outside General Counsel for a variety of law firms and legal issues related to Corporate and Business Law in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

Thanks for reading our latest blog talking about topical legal issues facing small businesses. Learn more from our Outside General Counsel Blogs.


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