Labor Day provides a moment to reflect on jobs, workers' rights, and the economy. Online resources offer easy access to explanations of labor laws, job-market analyses, and the history of work.
Have a question about federal labor law and how it affects your job? Try the U.S. Department of Labor's employment law guide. Links down the page cover a wide range of job-related subjects - minimum-wage rules, child-labor protections, lie-detector tests, and whistle-blower protections, to name a few. One section covers work authorization for noncitizens, and there's an index of the laws applying to agriculture, mining, and construction.
Personal postings on social-media sites can get in the way of employment or become cause for losing a job - so-called Facebook firing. Legal-information site Nolo.com has an encyclopedia page on the laws that may, or may not, protect you from being fired for what you post online. For example, the First Amendment, which enumerates the right to free speech, is generally regarded as a protection from government, not from private companies and employers. But many other protective laws may apply.
An "employee rights law center" on the Nolo.com site covers other workplace issues, with sections on rights against workplace discrimination and harassment, union organizing, and workplace health and safety.
Stay current on jobs and the economy with this page at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, where the bureau announces the latest government reports and indexes that track employment, consumer prices, productivity, earnings, and other data that feed the unending effort to determine the health of the economy. Recent releases include the bureau's "census of fatal occupational injuries" for 2012, which counted 4,383 such injuries last year. That was down from the previous year, but includes increases in fatalities in construction and mining, and 19 fatal injuries involving workers under age 16 - up from 10 the year before.
The U.S. labor movement, celebrated on Labor Day, is chronicled at History.com. Videos on this page recount the history of Labor Day, the fight to end child labor, and other key moments in the movement. Linked articles examine labor strikes and explain the significance of the Industrial Revolution. Under "People and Groups," find descriptions of early labor organizers such as Eugene V. Debs and Samuel Gompers; key industrialist Henry Ford, who raised pay and shortened the workweek; and "trust buster" President Theodore Roosevelt.
Contact Reid Kanaley at 215-854-5114, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow on Twitter @ReidKan.