There are some glaring differences which exist between US and European employment law as examined below.
Six years ago, there were 19 notable strikes and work stoppages that involved more than 1000 workers each in the United States of America which led to more than 148,000 workers being off work for more than a day. In the United Kingdom, there were 11 of such which contributed to 29,000 working days being affected. Resolutions of American labor disputes usually depend on existing federal and state labor laws. A mixture of European labor laws and individual European member state labor laws dictate how labor disputes are resolved within Europe.
In the United States of America, there exists no legal requirement for an employment contract. Most of the employment is usually on at-will basis, which means that the employer can terminate the working relationship on their own volition, as long as the grounds are sufficiently legal.
In Europe, an employment contract is usually the basis of all employee-employer relations. Employment-at-will doctrine does not apply here. An employer is usually obligated to follow the due process during termination of an employee. In instances where the employer does not do so, they are usually liable for wrongful termination.
Employers are not authorized to notify their employees before termination under American federal laws and the US Fair Labor Standards Act. An employer is at liberty to terminate a working relationship for any other reason that does not include discrimination, retaliation, and defamation, breach of contract or fraud. An employee cannot claim unfair treatment on account of wrongful termination.
European Labor Laws permit an employee to claim wrongful termination in a case of employment breach of contract. For instance, if an employer dismisses an employee without notice and fails to follow the laid out disciplinary measures as stated in the contract before dismissing them, the employee could sue for wrongful termination.
There are no limitations for working hours for employees as per the federal employment laws in the United States. In California, there is an exception where employees are legally entitled to a day off every week unless the nature of occupation does not permit it. European states have specific weekly working hours such as Germany laws which have capped them at 35 hours.
The United States Fair Labor Standard Act allows minor who are aged 14 and 15 to work past school time for some few hours in industries that are not manufacturing and mining. Minors who are aged 16 and 17 work for limited hours. All minors are not allowed to dangerous jobs.
European Child Labor Laws are almost similar to those of the United States of America. Article 32 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU disallows employment of minors that haven’t reached the minimum school-leaving age in the member states. It further offers protection for minors from economic exploitation which hampers their safety, education, and development.
In the United States, there are usually very few rights for individual employees which include:
Ø Consultation rights are restricted.
Ø Notice rights before redundancies only exist in limited circumstances.
Ø Protection of employee benefits is not guaranteed.
In the United States, the following issues have been outlined:
Ø Negotiation of severance term in member countries that do not provide for specified payments.
Ø Unfair dismissal protection under the law in relevant member states
Ø The consequences of a merger announcement based on consultation requirements.
In conclusion, there are very obvious differences in labor laws in the United States and Europe. Similarities have also been outlined despite them not being as many as the differences.