Legal Environment – Labor Unions


Labor unions are organizations that workers form to enable them to achieve specific set objectives and goals. People become what their parents were, for instance, they become soldiers, landowners. During the Agrarian Revolution, people knew their rights and under some circumstances, the employer was liable for paying some of the bills like medication. Employment contracts were meant to protect the employees. In the 18th and 19th centuries, many workers moved from farms and villages to work in industries. The contracts of the agrarian revolution were found to be unfavorable in the industrial setups. Thus, the courts intervened allowing employees to have the freedom to exit their jobs the way employers had freed to hire and fire employees at will. Labor unions are beneficial to both unionized and non-unionized employees. Therefore, associations can be considered to be good on the following grounds (Beatty and Susan 426).

Unions provide employment security

According to the Family and Medical Leave Act; an employee is onleave-on on different instances. The situations include childbirth occasions, adoption of a child, or serious health condition of an immediate family member or own health. The period limit includes up to twelve unpaid weeks. A serious health condition is when one hospitalized, a condition that requires regular medical visits or a single visit to a medical practitioner. An employer is to enjoy medical insurance benefits of eighteen months after his or her termination from a job (Beatty and Susan 427).

Also, an employer cannot wrongfully discharge an employee on the grounds of reasons that violates the social rights, responsibilities or duties. An employer breaches a contract on terminating contracts based on bad faith, malice or even on retaliation grounds. Thus, it can be regarded that unions ensure covenants of good faith are and there exists fair dealing between the parties (Beatty and Susan 428).

Unions provide privacy in the workplaces

Workers are entitled to privacy to the extent of their expectations. An employer cannot therefore initiate a door to door practice that will investigate the drinking habits, housekeeping skills as well as sexual practices (Beatty and Susan 436).

In contrary, employers have the right to fire workers because of their off-duty acts. For instances, employees have been disciplined or fired because of taking part in extra co-curricular activities like sky-diving, smoking, dating co-workers and smoking. In reaction to this, unions have ensured lifestyle laws and laws to protect particular behavior are and put it enforcement for the benefit of the employee. Thus, employees can smoke and take alcohol. The private and public employer is allowed to conduct a test to find out any misuse of drugs or use of illegal substances (Beatty and Susan 437).

Electronic monitoring in the workplace is allowed but it should not infringe the privacy rights. Such rights include monitoring emails and messages that are for particular individuals. For such reasons, the employees are therefore not required to use company servers when sending personal emails (Beatty and Susan).

Employers are not allowed to monitor the social media practices of their employees unless the act affects the organizations. Employers can, therefore, react to any information that is wrongly presented by their employees because they are liable for the acts. Also, companies are not allowed to inquire about the origin of its employees as this will lead to discrimination during assigning of duties (Beatty and Susan 437).

Employment Safety issues

According to the occupation and health protection act, the employer must meet the required working place conditions. First, the workers must ensure the specific health and safety standards are meet. It includes providing protective clothing and laboratory clothes for those who work in the labs. Secondly, ensure the workplaces are free from hazards that may injure or cause death to employees. The employer is as well required to keep records of all accidents that have occurred in the workplaces. OSHA sets heavy fines that will ensure the firms achieve required workplace working conditions (Beatty and Susan 439).

Financial protection

According to the fair labor standards act, employees are to receive a given set minimum wage. They are as well required to be for any overtime works carried out. Child labor has been discouraged nationally. Workers are compensated once they are injured in the workplaces. Social security and pension schemes ensure workers enjoy life after retirement or retrenchment. Also, it provides the disabled, and the spouse and children of a deceased employee meet their financial obligations (Beatty and Susan 439).

The unions as well carry out collective bargaining on behave of its employees. The unions seek better pay and good working conditions on behave of employees. Collective bargaining agreement sets minimum working conditions, hours one is supposed to work as well as the minimum wages and salaries. It also shows how the increments will be executed in the future periods (Beatty and Susan 440).


Labor unions can be considered to be important as they will ensure workers work in a conducive environment, earn enough wages or salaries, and they are not exploited by the workers as well. The unions ensure their workers are not exploited, provision of proper working conditions, security, and privacy. Therefore, as long as the labor unions have been formed legally and registered and they carry out tasks as per their objectives, they can be taken to be good.


Beatty, Jefrey, F. and Susan, S, Samuelson. Legal Environment. 5th ed. Stanford, CT: Cengage Learning, 2012. Print

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