Running into trouble with your boss at work? Depending on the nature of your dispute, there's a chance that you may have some legal protection. Here is an introduction to five key laws that govern how companies treat their employees:

Job discrimination

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the main federal anti-discrimination law in America. It prohibits employers from discriminating in any aspect of the job based on the race, religion, gender or national origin. Title VII also prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act

Employers can't discriminate in any way against applicants or employees who are older than 40 based on their age. This has become a big issue as more baby boomers move into their retirement years.

The Americans with Disabilities Act

This law makes it unlawful to discriminate against people with qualified disabilities in the workplace. Your company is required to offer people with disabilities a "reasonable accommodation" to help them do their job. This can mean anything from giving them a new chair at their desk or giving them extra time to get to work.

The Fair Labor Standards Act

The FLSA is the nation's main wage and hour law. It sets the federal minimum wage and requires you to pay time and a half overtime to hourly employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek. This also sets the law for teenagers — when they can work and what type of duties they can have.

The Family and Medical Leave Act

Employees at firms with 50 or more workers with at least a year on the job can take up to 12 weeks per year of unpaid, job-protected leave for one of three reasons: the birth or adoption of a child, to care for their own health condition, or to care for a sick child, spouse or parent who has a serious condition.

Business Management Daily