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July 28, 2003    DOL Home > OASP > Employment Law Guide   

Employment Law Guide: Laws, Regulations, and Technical Assistance Services



Employment Law Guide
(PDF- 918KB)

En Español

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy


This Guide describes the statutes and regulations administered by the Department of Labor (DOL) that affect businesses and workers. The Guide is designed mainly for those needing "hands-on" information to develop wage, benefit, safety and health, and nondiscrimination policies for businesses in general industry.

Read the overview first to find out which requirements apply to your business. For each requirement, the overview provides a link to the related chapter in the Guide and to the relevant Department of Labor agency. Employers in certain industries (for instance, agriculture) will be advised to contact specific offices of the Department of Labor for further information.

Each chapter lists the telephone number of the Department of Labor agency that administers the laws and regulations addressed in that chapter. If you have any difficulty contacting a DOL agency (for instance, due to a telephone number that has been changed), or if you need referral information on any topic within DOL's purview, call the Department's toll-free service at 1-866-4-USA-DOL (1-866-487-2365).

The Employment Law Guide is offered as a public resource. It does not create new legal obligations and it is not a substitute for the U.S. Code, Federal Register, and Code of Federal Regulations as the official sources of applicable law. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is complete and accurate as of the time of publication and this will continue. Later versions of this Guide will be offered at or by calling our toll-free service at the number noted above.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996

You should also be aware that the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA) places obligations on federal agencies and provides rights to small businesses. The Department of Labor's Office of Small Business Programs oversees the Department's SBREFA activities. You may also obtain information on SBREFA from the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Under SBREFA, the SBA has established an SBA Ombudsman and SBA Regional Fairness Boards. If you wish to comment directly to SBA on the enforcement actions of any Department of Labor agency, call 1-888-734-3247. You also may call your local DOL Regional Office or the Department of Labor's Office of Small Business Programs at 202-693-6460.

Other Information for Employers and Employees

By itself or with other agencies, the Department of Labor administers several employment programs to assist both employees and employers. In particular, One-Stop Career Centers established under the Workforce Investment Act offer a variety of services for individuals seeking employment, as well as resources for employers seeking workers.

Also, employers and employees may wish to explore the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) and the Welfare-to-Work tax credits. These credits can assist employers in their efforts to hire eligible low-income individuals.

Finally, employees who lose their jobs due to changes in business conditions in general may wish to file for unemployment insurance benefits, which are administered by the various States with assistance from the Department of Labor. Employees who lose their jobs due to increased imports from, or shifts in production to, foreign countries may be eligible for assistance under the Trade Adjustment Act program.

Further information about all of these programs and provisions can be found on the Employment and Training Administration's Web site.



  1. Wages and Hours of Work
  2. Safety and Health Standards
  3. Health Benefits and Retirement Standards
  4. Other Workplace Standards
  5. Work Authorization for Non-U.S. Citizens
  6. Federal Contracts: Wages, Hours of Work, and Fringe Benefits
  7. Federal Contracts: Equal Opportunity
  8. Index of Acts by Specific Industry

Phone Numbers