The eye of the beholder

 

One would hardly characterize the United States as “employee friendly.” In spite to decades of worker protection laws being enacted, dating from the child labor laws of the early part of last century to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) in the 1990s, it has been a long, arduous struggle to prevent discrimination and exploitation of workers and there is still much to be done.

 

Yet from the perspective of employers, many of these laws are seen as “onerous.” Yes, following the law can be difficult in a state like New York or California, especially compared to many jurisdictions that have little or no regulation. It is especially humorous to read an opinion piece by a lawyer who works for employers complaining about compliance issues. After all, it there was no employment laws to trouble employers, that lawyer would be unemployed.

 

Apparently, following statutory requirements for information listed on a pay stub and providing accurate meal and break periods for employees is seen as “onerous.” If all employers were honest and trustworthy, much of the laws and regulations would be unnecessary and might be seen as a burden.

However, as long as employees suffer discrimination and are taken advantage of by unscrupulous employers who short them on pay and benefits, use intimidation and coercive methods to force them to work off the clock and skip breaks and meals, and maintain discriminatory work environments, workers will need the protection of these laws and will need to sue their employers for violations when they occur.

Almost all of the workplace laws and regulations went into place after long histories of employers abusing their power and exploiting workers. While California and New York have generally progressive laws, much of the country has much less favorable laws, and those workers face greater risks of discrimination and abuse.

Source: pacbiztimes.com, “California’s onerous employment laws continue to vex businesses,” Jonathan Fraser Light, August 28, 2015

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