State vs. Federal Laws for Employment Disputes

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Most Common Employment Law Issues:

What is the Difference Between State vs. Federal Laws for Employment Disputes?

Federal employment laws usually state a minimum threshold requirement for employee rights and workplace disputes.  State laws must abide by these federal guidelines, and many states usually adopt some form of an existing federal statute.  They may follow the general outline of the federal law, and then modify it to fit the needs of their particular population.  Usually the state law provides greater protections than federal laws.

What are Some Examples of Differences With State Versus Federal Employment Claims?

One common example of the differences between state and federal employment law claims is with regards to minimum wages.  Federal laws may set national limits for the minimum wage.  However, states can set minimum wage limits that are higher than the federal minimum wage rate, but not lower.  This is an example of how state employment laws can often be stricter than federal laws. 

Other areas of differences with State and Federal employment law claims include:

What if I Have an Employment Dispute?  Do I File With the State or With a Federal Agency?

Generally speaking, you are required to file your employment dispute claim with a state agency first.  Your state agency will conduct an investigation into your claim and may prescribe a possible remedy.  In some cases, the state employment division will also contact a federal employment or labor agency if action is needed at the federal level. 

Each state has a different name for its employment division.  For instance, there is the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), etc.  You may also need to file with a state agency before you can file a private lawsuit.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With State or Federal Employment Laws?

Employment laws can often be very complicated, both at the federal and state levels.  If you need assistance with any employment law issues, you may need to hire an experienced lawyer in your area.  Your attorney can tell you how federal laws work, and how your state’s laws may also apply to your case.  Your attorney can provide you with advice and representation throughout the process.

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Last Modified: 04-08-2013 02:42 PM PDT

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