Employment and Labor Law

Body of rulings pertaining to working people and their organizations, including trade unions and employee unions, enforced by government agencies. There are two categories of labor laws; collective and individual. Collective labor law involves relationships between the union, the employer and the employee. Individual labor law involves concerns for employees' rights in the workplace

Labor laws first became standard during the Industrial Revolution.



A term of employment law; where an employee is assigned to a new job and his/her position filled by another employee

Bereavement Leave

Authorized leave from work, paid or unpaid, for the purposes of attending to the funeral of a family member

Blue-Pencil Severance

Striking out an offending part of a legal document, such as a contract or a statute

Cat's Paw

A supervisor who, rather than genuinely re-assess a subordinate's decision to discipline an employee, official cover notwithstanding, merely rubber stamps it

Collective Bargaining

Trade agreement negotiation between an employer and a person(s) representative of a larger unit of employees, to govern hiring, work, pay and dispute resolution

Collective Bargaining Agreement

A contract on hiring, working conditions and dispute resolution between an employer and a union, the latter representing employees of a defined group

Common Law

Judge-declared law

Law which exists and applies to a group on the basis of customs and legal precedents developed over hundreds of years in Britain

Compassionate Care Leave

Paid or unpaid leave to care or support a gravely ill family member

Constructive Discharge

When an employer, rather than acting directly, deliberately makes an employee's working conditions so intolerable that the employee is forced into resignation

Constructive Dismissal

Under the employment law of some states, judges will consider a situation where there has been a fundamental violation of the rights of an employee, by the employer, so severe that the employee would have the right to consider himself as dismissed, even though, in fact, there has been no act of dismissal on the part of the employer


An agreement between persons which obliges each party to do or not to do a certain thing

Contract Law

That body of law which regulates the formation and enforcement of contracts.


An employer's decision to terminate a contract of employment


A term of maritime law where an officer or other seaman is either demoted in rank or deprived of a promotion

Duty of Fair Representation

A union's duty to be free of arbitrary judgment or discrimination or bad faith towards one it its members


Wages, benefits or other benefit received as compensation for holding some office or employment


A person who has agreed by contract to perform specified services for another, the employer, in exchange for money

Employee Choice Doctrine

The forfeiture of a departing employee's right to judicial review of a restrictive covenant if that employee agreed voluntarily to receive post-employment benefits as consideration for the covenant


A person who is contractually bound to a worker - the employee - to give that worker money as a salary or wages, in exchange for ongoing work and for which the employer directs the work and exercises fundamental control over the work


A contract in which one person, the employee, agrees to perform work for another, the employer

Employment at Will

An employment contract during which the employer may terminate the employment at any time subject only to the reason not being contrary to public policy

Employment Standards

Entirely a creation of statute; minimum employee rights extended for work within the jurisdiction served by the relevant statute


A claim by a union or a unionized employee that a collective bargaining agreement has been breached

Grievance Arbitration

The resolution of a dispute as to an alleged violation of a term of a collective bargaining agreement, by arbitration

Heart Attack Standard

A finding or allegation that conditions of employment are so unusual or extraordinary conditions as to have the potential to cause mental disorder or a heart attack

Hostile Work Environment

A pattern of ongoing and persistent harassment severe enough to alter the conditions of employment

Independent Contractor

A person hired by another not as an employee but, rather, pursuant to a contract for service where the engaging party does not supervise or control the detail of the work, and where the party engaged remains self-employed


Insulting a supervisor at the workplace or during the tenure of an employment contract


Willful failure to obey a supervisor's lawful orders

Just Cause

Employment law: misconduct of an employee, or some other event relevant to the employee, which justifies the immediate termination of the employment contract

Labor Organization

A defined group of employees formed for the purposes of representing those employees with the employer as to the terms of a collective contract of employment

Labor Union

A defined group of employees formed for the purposes of representing those employees with the employer as to the terms of a collective contract of employment

McDonnell Douglas Framework

A preliminary legal requirement to proving employment discrimination: that the adverse employment decision which is complains of was more likely than not motivated by discrimination

Means and Manner

The result and performance detail(s) of work

Minimum Wage

The lowest allowable rate of pay as established by statute

Non-compete Agreement

An agreement on the part of a departing employee restricting, in some way, same-industry employment


A private or government fund (or payments there from), from which intermittent and regular benefits or allowances are paid to a person upon his or her retirement or disability.

Personal Services Contract

A contract in which the skills or talents of a party are material

Personnel File

An employer's folder of employee records collected in regards to qualifications, promotion, transfer, compensation or disciplinary action


To surround the entrance of a business or agency and encourage patrons to boycott it or to otherwise negatively call attention to it

Pre-Hire Agreement

An employer agrees to hire specific union members or their referrals for the purpose of working on anticipated jobs, within the construction industry, during the contract period

Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

Workplace harassment which conditions employment or promotion on sexual favors

Rand Formula

Union dues are withheld from the pay of an employee, whether or not he or she belongs to the union

Respondeat superior

Latin: let the principal answer

Restrictive Covenant

A contract in which a party agrees to be restricted in some regards as to future conduct

Rule in Aerocide

A Canadian legal principle applicable in employment law which holds an employer to the reasons for a dismissal expressed at the time of dismissal, and prohibiting the attempt to later advance other reasons


Regular payment for services

Severance Pay

An amount of money an employer owes to an employee in lieu of notice, in exchange for the employee's agreement to sever an employment contract forthwith

Sick Leave

Time off from work, paid or unpaid, on account of an employee's temporary inability to perform duties because of sickness or disability

Straw Boss

An employee with minor supervisory duties


A common stopping of work by a group of employees


An employee with limited management discretion or responsibilities

Trade Union

A defined group of employees formed for the purposes of representing those employees with the employer as to the terms of a collective contract of employment


A defined group of employees formed for the purposes of representing those employees with the employer as to the terms of a collective contract of employment

Vicarious Liability

Liability for the tort of another even though the person being held responsible may not have done anything wrong


Compensation for work or services

Wallace Damages

Increased damage award in a wrongful dismissal case because of the manner in which the dismissal was handled by the employer


An employee who reports a supervisor or an employer's legal violations or wrongdoings

Workers' Compensation

A public benefit scheme in which qualified workers who are injured in the workplace, receive compensation, commensurate with their degree of injury, regardless of fault

Wrongful Dismissal

Being fired from a job without an adequate reason or without any reason whatsoever

Can also be referred to as wrongful termination, wrongful discharge or dismissal without just cause

Yellow Dog Contract

A name given in American labor law to contract of employment by which the employee promises not to join a union or agrees to forfeit employment if he/she joins a union during the period of employment


Corporate Governance

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