If you think you’ve got it bad when it comes to labor law compliance requirements, think again: there’s almost certainly a place out there that’s got it worse. Federal laws in the U.S. are only one source of employment regulations. States and municipalities can set their own requirements, and some of them can be more restrictive than the federal government’s – and many of them are just plain odd. And then there are laws from other nations entirely. Here’s a sampling of some of the most idiosyncratic labor laws in the U.S. and across the globe.
Michigan: Height/Weight discrimination
In the U.S., federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of a number of specific characteristics, such as gender or religion. The state of Michigan takes it a step further and makes it against the law to discriminate or harass based on weight or height. Section 202 (1a) reads: “An employer shall not do any of the following: failed or refused to hire or recruit, discharge, or otherwise discriminate against an individual with respect to employment, compensation, or a term, condition, or privilege of employment, because of religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, or marital status.”
Japan: Reducing Obesity by Mandate
Japan takes a very different approach to questions of weight. In 2008, the nation introduced a “metabo” law that requires employers to measure the waistlines of employees between the ages of 40 and 74. The law is intended to reduce the incidence of obesity in the country, and employees whose waistlines exceed allowable limits (33.5” for men and 35.4” for women) must attend diet and nutrition classes.
Florida: Guns at Work
Most workplaces frown on employees bringing guns to work, especially as the risks of workplace violence have worsened over time. In Florida, however, employees are permitted to bring guns to work as long as they stay in the car. The state’s so-called “guns-at-work” law doesn’t necessarily give employees the right to bring the guns into the office, but employers cannot prohibit employees or customers from leaving a legally owned firearm inside their own private motor vehicle.
California famously goes its own way when it comes to labor laws. A number of federal requirements have California variants. For example, overtime is calculated differently in this state. The Fair Labor Standards Act mandates that overtime must be paid to nonexempt employees who work more than 40 hours in a single week. In other words, federal law requires overtime to be calculated on a weekly basis. In California, however, overtime is calculated on a daily basis for any time worked over 8 hours in a day.
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