Employment regulations confuse a lot of adults. The language used in the actual laws is hard to understand. Beyond that, people often share half-truths and urban legends about employment laws and regulations that leave people very confused about what rights they actually have. Employers sometimes outright lie to people about how the law protects them.
It is common for people to question whether their specific workplace protections may change when they move to a different business or profession. Are workplace protections different in different lines of employment?
Most employment protections apply to all workers
Many crucial employee protection laws benefit people in any industry. With a handful of exceptions, almost all workers can count on having minimum wage and overtime pay rights when appropriate. All employers should provide an employment environment that prioritizes regulatory compliance and safety.
All workers also have basic protections from discrimination based on protected characteristics, like age, race or sex. From the fair labor standards Act to state laws that require workers’ compensation coverage for employees in most states, the majority of employee protections are Universal regardless of the job that you work.
Some protections are industry-specific
There are some workplace rules that only apply to specific professions. Workers in commercial transportation or airline professions have rules preventing them from working too many hours in a short amount of time that they can invoke if an employer tries to schedule them for an excessively long shift or too many shifts in a short amount of time.
In some states, there are special exemptions for medical workers and others in similar professions regarding overtime wage rules. There are also certain forms of protection that only apply in very rare cases. For example, those working in coal mines have protection under the Black Lung Benefits Act that would not apply to people in other industries. Those working in oil and gas extraction may have stop work authority when they notice regulatory non-compliance or safety issues on the job.
It can be very difficult for an individual worker to accurately determine what laws may apply to their situation. Learning more about your employment rights may help you assert them and fight back after a violation of your rights.