Employment Law FAQ

Q. Are there any regulations regarding the safety of my work environment?

A. The Occupational Safety And Health Act is administered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Safety and health conditions in most private industries are regulated by OSHA or OSHA-approved state systems. Employers must identify and eliminate unhealthful or hazardous conditions; employees must comply with all rules and regulations that apply to their own workplace conduct. Covered employers must maintain safe and healthful work environments in keeping with the requirements of the law. Effective OSHA safety and health regulations supersede others originally issued under these other laws: the Walsh-Healey Act, the Service Contract Act, the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act, the Arts and Humanities Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.

Q. Do I have to give my employer my medical records for leave due to a serious health condition?

A. No. You do not have to provide medical records. The employer may, however, request that. For any leave taken due to a serious health condition, you provide a medical certification confirming that a serious health condition exists.

Q. Does the law guarantee paid time off?

A. No. The FMLA only requires unpaid leave. However, the law permits an employee to elect, or the employer to require the employee, to use accrued paid leave, such as vacation or sick leave, for some or all of the FMLA leave period. When paid leave is substituted for unpaid FMLA leave, it may be counted against the 12-week FMLA leave entitlement if the employee is properly notified of the designation when the leave begins.

Q. What are the federal laws prohibiting job discrimination?

A. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces all of the following laws. EEOC also provides oversight and coordination of all federal equal employment opportunity regulations, practices and policies.

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin
  • The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA), which protects men and women who perform substantially equal work in the same establishment from sex-based wage discrimination
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), which protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older
  • Title I and Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), which prohibit employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the private sector, and in state and local governments
  • Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibit discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities who work in the federal government; and the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which, among other things, provides monetary damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination.

Q. What is the minimum my employer must pay me in wages?

A. The Fair Labor Standards Act prescribes standards for wages and overtime pay, which affect most private and public employment. The act is administered by the Wage and Hour Division of the Employment Standards Administration. It requires employers to pay covered employees the federal minimum wage and overtime of one-and-one-half-times the regular wage. It prohibits certain types of work in an employee’s home. It restricts the hours that children under 16 can work and forbids their employment in certain jobs deemed too dangerous. The Wage and Hour Division also enforces the workplace provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act that apply to aliens authorized to work in the U.S.