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Labor Rights Then and Now are a Different Picture



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Labor law has changed a lot over the last few decades. This makes the current workplace a much more worker friendly environment for everyone.

One such change has been the minimum wage that can be paid for any kind of work in the United States. While it did take a long time for this rate to be changed, it finally has been. While inflation has gone up and interest rates for loans have changed, the minimum wage for workers remained the same for years. Minimum wage for work is governed by the federal government.

Another law that has come about only in recent decades is in the matter of sexual harassment. Prior to government regulations that prohibited it, inappropriate touching, sexual innuendo and remarks as well as physical demands were common place in the workplace. During the 70’s and 80’s especially, women’s groups lobbied for government laws to prohibit this kind of behavior. Of course, enforcing these changes was a challenge at first but it is commonplace now for such behaviors to be reported to authorities. Most employers now encourage their employees to report any kind of impropriety.

The fact is that as our society develops and becomes aware of issues, our laws often change to reflect our widening views on how we should behave. These changes sometimes come about slowly and other times they become a part of our laws rather quickly. This sometimes has to do with a societal acceptance of what is right and wrong. Other times it has a lot to do with smaller groups who take on the responsibility of making the rest of society aware of a problematic issue.

Another issue that has been dealt with in the legal arena and become a part of our laws is the matter of discrimination in the work place. At one time it was commonplace for someone applying for a job to be at the mercy of bosses hiring based on sex, race, religion or simply their own personal preferences. This was another major change in American law that took time. It is no longer acceptable for hiring practices to include these kinds of discrimination and most employers would simply never consider hiring that way. The labor laws of the United States ensure that these rights are in place for workers now and the numbers of law suits that involve this kind of suit were reduced once it became the acceptable norm in the workplace.

American justice and labor laws have certainly changed over the years. Most people feel that these changes were a positive step and that equitable labor laws only improve the legal landscape of this country. While there will always be new issues to be dealt with by society and in turn the justice system, these labor laws can stand as an example that our laws do evolve and change as our society becomes more and more aware of inequities within our way of life.



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