Employment Laws

(1). Chronology of employment laws

The Clayton Act was enacted in 1914, with the intention of establishing legal protection for organized labor. There was a need to assert the position of labor in the face of antitrust legislations, and this is what the law was intended to achieve. In 1926, the Railways Act was passed. It was meant to encourage collective bargaining among employers, and prohibit discrimination against unions.

The Davis-Bacon Act was passed by Congress in 1931, to address the problem of wage payment in the construction industry. Its provisions required a contract for construction into which the federal government entered, to specify the minimum wage to be paid to laborers employed under that contract (Federal Labor Laws, n.d).

In order to increase protection for union activities and collective bargaining, Congress passed the Norris-NaGuardia Act in 1932. The Act legalized strikes and other collective ways of dealing with labor issues, and also prohibited the enforcement of ‘yellow dog’ agreements or contracts through the courts of law. The National Industry Recovery Act was enacted in 1933, and congress intended to set standards of ‘fair competition’, by regulating regular working hours and wages (Federal Labor Laws, n.d)..

The National Labor Relations Act-1935 was passed by Congress in order to regulate labor relations among employees whose activities affected interstate commerce, except those in the agricultural sector.

The Act also established the NLRB, through which labor disputes would be handled, and prohibited employers from engaging in any of the prohibited unfair practices. In 1936, Congress enacted the Walsh-Healy Act, whose intention was to restrict the regular working hours, establish minimum wages and regulate the employment of children and ex-convicts (Federal Labor Laws, n.d).

In order to introduce some limitations to the rights enjoyed by trade unions, Congress enacted the National Labor Relations Act in 1947. The Act introduced measures to delay or avert ‘emergency strikes’ and prohibited the discriminative ‘closed shop’ practices of trade unions.

The Equal Pay Act was passed by congress in 1963 to prohibit the act of paying different amounts of money to male and female employees, only because they were male or female. This law was also enacted in order to protect employees from retaliation, if they filed complaints against their employers.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964, was enacted to protect the rights of individuals, and to prohibit various actions by employers that the law classified as discriminatory (Federal Labor Laws, n.d). This list is not exhaustive, and many more employment laws exist in the US.

In the recent past, there has been a marked increase in the calls for equality and protection from discrimination at the work place. Legislations such as The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, Civil Rights Act of 1991, and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 all prohibit different types of discriminations.

These legislative efforts have led to the reduction of discrimination at the work place, as these laws prescribe heavy penalties for the commission of prohibited acts by employers and their agents.

(2). Scenario

Discrimination at the workplace on the basis of sex is prohibited by employment laws in the United States (EEOC, n.d). There are several options that an aggrieved party can pursue in order to have his/her grievance addressed. These options include; internal dispute resolution procedures at the workplace, filing a complaint with the EEOC, or litigation among others (EEOC, n.d). If an employee files a complaint against the employer, he/she is protected from retaliation by the law.

Smith has a case against the company for retaliation, since the law prohibits retaliatory acts by the employer against an employee who files a complaint against it.

The remedies available to a victim of retaliation include; compensatory damages for expenses or losses that he/she may have incurred as a result of the retaliatory act, and punitive damages to punish the employer especially where the act was malicious or reckless (EEOC, n.d).

Before he can recover, Smith will have to prove; that he exhausted the internal dispute resolution mechanisms laid down by the company before proceeding to the EEOC, and that he suffered damage or loss as a result of the retaliatory act. He will also have to establish the company’s vicarious liability for the acts of the offending party in order to recover against it.


EEOC. (n.d.). Sex-Based Discrimination. Retrieved from http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/sex.cfm

Federal Labor Laws. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://history.eserver.org/us-labor-law.txt