If you are seeking employment or have ever had a job in the United States, then you have been regulated by state and federal labor and employment laws. These are a set of laws that affect every job in the United States.
Labor laws are a set of laws outlined by each state as well as the federal government that determine the circumstances under which individuals can work, how they can be hired, how they can be fired, when they get compensation, what amount of money they get paid, whether the rules are different if they are on salary or hourly, if they get brakes and how often, and much more.
Minimum wage is a great example, as is workplace safety, of how federal and state laws can overlap. All federal laws must be adhered to no matter what state you work in. This means if there is a minimum established by the federal government, every state must meet that minimum. However, every state is also allowed the freedom to require something beyond that federal minimum.
With regard to minimum wage, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. This means that no matter where you work in the United States you cannot be legally paid less than this rate. However, states can choose to pass the state-based legislation that dictates a higher minimum wage in which case you cannot work in that particular state for anything less than the higher state minimum wage.
Similarly, workplace safety is outlined by the federal government, but there are state level requirements which often depend on the most common employment in those states. Therefore, every state must meet the minimum requirements for safety and health posters displayed in the workplace as outlined by the federal government. If there are additional state-based health and safety requirements, those have to be followed in addition to what the federal government requires. You might find situations where a particular type of employment such as oil and drilling or seasonal ski resort workers are subject to additional state-based regulations simply because those types of jobs are more common in a particular state and do not exist across all states governed by the federal government.
Labor laws are important because they regulate the industry. The federal government is heavily involved in regulating all things that pertain to the economy, which include workers, jobs, and employees. Labor laws make it possible for individuals to get a fair shot at applying for a job regardless of demographics. Because of anti-discrimination laws, someone who is Hispanic, black, gay, disabled, Mormon, and/or female can apply for the same job without any discrimination.
Labor laws create healthy, safe, and, by extension, productive work environments. In addition to employers, employees also have a set of rules to which they must adhere. These rules ensure employees are treated fairly and, in addition to not being discriminated against, they have certain freedoms, they aren’t overworked, they aren’t placed in crowded factories full of disease or physical danger.
The purpose of the labor law is to regulate all things having to do with labor in the United States. This means any job that takes place in the state has to adhere to regulations written in the statutes of the labor law. Regulation of labor in the country is very important to protect the rights of employees and influence their professional development.
Employees feeling aware that their company is adhering to the labor law will understand that their safety and working conditions are protected. That affects greatly employee’s motivation and willingness to provide their skills and knowledge to the company’s benefits.
Employees have the right to a fair and equal workplace. Labor laws give regulations that prohibit discrimination in the workplace so no employee should be discriminated against and, if they are for any legitimate reason, they have the right to file a complaint or potentially pursue a lawsuit.
Employees have the right to equal pay as it pertains to the same job based on any discriminatory factors, as well as equal pay based on state minimum wage rates or federal minimum wage.
Employees have the right to file complaints without repercussion in the event that the workplace violates health and safety regulations. Similarly, they are allowed to submit any type of report to an authoritative or regulatory body without being punished at work for their decision.
By the same token, employees have the right to a clean and healthy workplace, one that is safe, regularly checked for safety, and free from health hazards or potential causes of severe mental stress.
Montana employment law covers a multitude of areas including things like social security. The laws pertaining to social security regulate how much money and under what circumstances the money has to be put into social security. As far as finances are concerned this area of employment law dictates things like what percentage of your wages can be garnished under certain circumstances, when your employer has to notify you of such decisions, and whether or not an employee can be fired because the employer was directed to garnish their wages.
Meal breaks are another area covered by Montana employment laws, although this varies based on the state. Not every state has a rule that lays out meals and breaks.
Working laws also ensure a given workplace is a safe environment, no matter the job. State law coincides with federal law in that OSHA has branches operating in each state and they are responsible for overseeing the workplace safety of each employee and employer. OSHA dictates many protocols, including:
When there is a legal issue with workplace safety, a state OSHA office provides reporting functions for violations and will follow up on those violations.
Montana labor laws cover minimum wage requirements as well. Minimum wage state law requires many things, such as equal pay for all employees, without discrimination. It also sets up the rules for things like what a pay period is, how many consecutive hours an employee has to work before they are entitled to overtime pay, or what the requirements are for unpaid hours when someone has been terminated. Minimum wage laws also lay out the different circumstances which apply to someone on salary, what an employment contract can or cannot contain, and how an employment contract or someone on salary might be subject to different compensation.
Another area that Montana labor laws lays out is the requirements for worker’s compensation. Most employers will explain this information to employees when they are hired, and there should always be an HR department to which an employee can turn to for answers. However, worker’s compensation lays out situations in which an employee is entitled to compensation because of incidents like an injury received at work, while conducting regular work duties. That could be a situation where an employer violated workplace safety and, as a direct result of an unsafe environment, someone was injured. It could just as easily be a situation where an unknown issue was unfortunately discovered by way of an accident in the workplace. In any scenario, this sets up the rules for when and how much compensation is entitled under which circumstances.
Montana requires that a company or employer have a legitimate business reason to fire you. Labor laws actually state that they can’t have something whimsical, false, capricious, or arbitrary. In fact you can only be fired for something that has a logical relationship to the business. To that end, if you are fired they have to provide you a reason for your termination and if it is not something logical to the business you can sue for wrongful termination.
Montana labor laws stipulate that an employer can request you work overtime but the compensation has to be 1.5 times your hourly rate for any hours you work beyond 40 in a given work week.
Whether or not you can refuse without retribution is not dictated by the law. Technically, you cannot be fired at will which means an employer can’t hold a grudge against you for not working overtime and fire you as a direct result on the spot, but they could find a way to make it related to the business.
In Montana an employer can cut your rate of pay. The law requires that they inform you before it happens and that the cut does not result in you making less than the federal or state minimum wage. Presently Montana’s minimum wage is $8.75 per hour as of January 1st, 2021.
In Montana if you work in the food and beverage or lodging sector, any tips and gratuities you receive while working are exempt from income tax. So you are guaranteed the same minimum wage and can keep all tips tax-free. However, any other tips you receive from any other position are still considered taxable income.