The law that governs the employer-employee relationship, including individual employment contracts, the application of tort and contract doctrines, and a large group of statutes and regulations on the right to organize and negotiate collective bargaining agreements, protection from discrimination, wages and hours, and health and safety.

Beyond establishing an economic relationship between employer and employee, work provides a powerful structure for organizing social and cultural life. The development of employment law demonstrates the importance of work. Self-worth, dignity, satisfaction, and accomplishment are often achieved by one's employment responsibilities, performance, and rewards. Employees have legal rights established by laws that give them the ability to unionize, engage in collective bargaining, and to be protected from discrimination based on race, gender, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation.