Evolution of Employment Law
The history of labor law entails the story of the conquest of citizenship by the employee, to pass “silence to speech”, in the words of Jacques Le Goff. Throughout the history, evolution of employment law has been subject to the ups and downs of history, autonomous text of such legal practices however, only really appear at the late nineteenth century.Understanding how the employment laws have evolved over time is critical to shaping the future formulation and implementation of such laws.
The limitation of child labor and the recognition of freedom of association are among the major laws initiated.The law of 10 May 1884 prohibits the work of children under 12 and creates a body of inspectors to put the employer on notice (Clayton, 2018). One of the first major labor laws, adopted on June 12, 1893, for the first time, obliged the employer to respect a number of rules of hygiene and safety in professional premises far too much often unhealthy.
Recognition of work accidents is also one of the great achievements in implementation of employment laws.The principle of the supremacy of the contract, dear to the liberals, carried the correlative acceptance of the employee of the risks of work in line with the main principles of the Civil Code. However, the Court of Cassation, in a first judgment dated June 21, 1841, operates a reversal of jurisprudence to admit the action of the worker against his/her boss on the basis of the tort of section 1382 of the Civil Code (Clayton, 2018). This law adds an additional obligation for the employer, previously only required to pay a salary, an obligation that truly establishes the right to work by the establishment of what will become at the end of the nineteenth century, the contract of employment and no longer a civil contract of hire of work.
These fundamental rights are today integrated into the fundamental principles recognized by the laws. However, as early as 1975, the climate changed, industrial jobs gradually disappeared, and unionism weakened.The trend is towards the gradual weakening of the collective rights of employees (Bower, 2016). As a result, over the years, there has been a gradual erosion of the labor law base, state law, to rely on a necessarily unequal balance of power in a period of scarcity of employment, or even on direct negotiation between the employee and the employer. The idea behind the whole construction of the labor law, according to which the employee was to be protected against his/her individual will, was renounced, his/her protection being conceived as the counterpart of his/her subordination. The collective rights of employees are gradually weakened.
In general, over time, employment laws have undergone significant changes. With regard to laws governing child labor, laws have transformed from a time when children were employed and allowed to work to presently where child labor is prohibited and punishable by law. Further, laws relating to work safety have largely changed across time with increased safety and environmental standards being required of organizations. Indeed, more changes are expected in future as policy makers seek to fill loopholes and encourage worldwide good practice with regard to child labor and work place safety.
Bower, J. (2016). Blackstone’s Employment Law Practice. London: Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Clayton, D. (2018). Legal Update: Employment Law. Law Society Gazette, 10 (2), pp. 112-116.