[Excerpt] There are many federal, state and local laws that affect the American workplace, and it is important for employers to know where to go for help in understanding their responsibilities under these laws.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) administers and enforces most federal employment laws, including those covering wages and hours of work, safety and health standards, employee health and retirement benefits, and federal contracts. Several other federal agencies also administer laws affecting employment issues. For example, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces many of the laws ensuring nondiscrimination in the workplace, and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) administers the primary law governing relations between unions and employers.
Most workplace laws apply the same way to all employees, whether or not they have disabilities. However, some laws apply specifically to employees with disabilities, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act. Some laws, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and state Workers’ Compensation laws, apply to all employees but have disability-related implications when employees are injured or become disabled on the job.
Employment laws can be complex, and understanding and implementing them can seem very challenging, especially for small businesses. DOL and other federal agencies have numerous resources and materials that can help.