Labor law generally includes laws that relate to unionization, union activity and other concerted activities by employees in the workplace. Labor law mostly applies to the National Labor Relations Act and the Railway Labor Act. Two federal laws that apply in Texas. Many people refer to all labor and employment law as labor law. The distinction is not really important to the practice of labor or employment law.
Both labor law and employment law deal with the employer-employee relationship albeit in a different way. It does not really matter whether you think a claim under the National Labor Relations Act is labor or employment law but it can be helpful to understand the distinction commonly made by attorneys, judges and legal documents.
Difference between employment law and labor law
The key difference between employment law and labor law is the component of the employer-employee relationship addressed by each. Employment law, such as wrongful termination, sex discrimination and overtime pay, address workplace situations between individual employees and the employer. Sometimes these claims are handled in a class action; but the class action is a grouping of individual wrongful acts by the employer.
Labor law deals with the employees as a group and the group’s relationship to the employer. The group of employees might be a formal union, the entire workforce, or just a small group of workers. No matter the size of the group, labor law protects the right of workers to cooperate to improve their jobs.