As the Industrial Revolution swept America, Europe, and the rest of what is now known as the industrialized world, more and more people left their rural lives to live in cities and work in factories. As the number of such employees rose and working conditions worsened, it became clear that the government would need to step in to protect the rights of the workers. These initial efforts eventually gave way to modern employment law.
Employment law protects employees from any mistreatment by their employers. Thanks to the working conditions described above, laws to establish fair wages, limit the number of hours worked in a week, and prevent children from being exploited were among the first components of employment law. Rules were also established to regulate the cleanliness of the workplace, and employers were required to take precautions to protect their employees and prevent dangerous accidents. These initial efforts are still an important part of employment law, although they have been improved and expanded as needed over the years.
Employment law protects other rights of employees, too. Laws have been passed to establish standards that employers must follow in providing benefits, such as health insurance, to their employees; this includes additional coverage for health problems that arise due to conditions of the job or workplace. Employment law also includes protection against discrimination in the workplace based on race, gender, religion, disability, or veteran status, and makes provisions for the employment of foreigners.
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