There are few areas of law more relevant to modern society than the law governing the employment relationship. The employment relationship is one of the most fundamental in modern industrial societies. The law governing the employment relationship affects nearly everyone's life, and many of our social and economic policies, including health care, are carried out through the employment relationship.
Though the forms and manifestations of this critical relationship are constantly changing, its dynamic character remains intense. Today, law regulates employer and employee rights and responsibilities more than ever before. The study of employment law covers job security; legal regulation of wages, hours, military leave, family and medical leave; health and safety in the workplace; and employee benefits and qualified retirement plans. It also encompasses the establishment of collective bargaining relationships between unions and management both in the private sector and in public sector government employment. Prohibition of employment discrimination (including harassment) based on race, sex, age, disability and religion, as well as workplace diversity, present a distinct and critical aspect of employment relations.
A wide range of opportunities for employment exist in this field. The study of labor and employment law provides the foundation for the practice of law as a representative of individual employees, unions or management, as well as for practice in governmental positions such as with the National Labor Relations Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or the Human Rights Commission of a state or local government. Expertise in the employment field of law is also critical in the practice of corporate law, and in representing institutional clients such as health care industries or higher education institutions. Significant increases in the number of employment discrimination cases filed have also made this area an important component of any law firm's litigation department.