Labor and Employment Law Overview: Alabama

Labor and Employment Law Overview requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Author: XpertHR Editorial Team

Summary

  • Alabama law prohibits an employer from discriminating against employees based on age. Alabama also has an equal pay law. See EEO, Diversity and Employee Relations.
  • Alabama requires the use of E-Verify. Alabama employers may not refuse to interview or retaliate against an applicant for failing to provide wage history. See Recruiting and Hiring.
  • In Alabama, there are requirements relating to child labor. See Wage and Hour.
  • Alabama has laws that relate to employee pay and benefits, including wage deduction requirements. See Pay and Benefits.
  • Under Alabama law, employees are entitled to certain leaves or time off, including crime victim leave, jury duty leave, military leave, voting leave and election official leave. See Time Off and Leaves of Absence.
  • Alabama prohibits smoking in any public place and texting while driving, and permits guns in company parking lots. See Health and Safety.
  • When employment ends, Alabama employers must comply with applicable mass layoff notification requirements. See Organizational Exit.

Introduction to Employment Law in Alabama

Alabama has laws that provide greater protections to employees than federal law, including leave entitlements for crime victims and volunteer emergency responders, but generally follows federal law with respect to topics such as the minimum wage, overtime and payment of wages.

Select Alabama employment requirements are summarized below to help an employer understand the range of employment laws affecting the employer-employee relationship in the state. An employer must comply with both federal and state law.

An employer must also comply with applicable municipal law obligations affecting the employment relationship, in addition to complying with state and federal requirements.

EEO, Diversity and Employee Relations

Fair Employment Practices

The Alabama Age Discrimination in Employment Act (AADEA) prohibits an employer from discriminating against employees age 40 and over. The AADEA applies to employers with 20 or more employees.

Equal Pay

Alabama prohibits an employer from paying an employee a lower wage than it pays to employees of another sex or race for equal work within the same establishment where job performance requires equal skill, effort, education, experience and responsibility and performance under similar working conditions. An employer may base wage differences on:

  • A seniority system;
  • A merit system;
  • A system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or
  • A differential based on any factor other than sex or race.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on EEO, diversity and employee relations practices in Alabama can be found in the Alabama Employee Handbook Table of Contents, EEO - Discrimination: Alabama, and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Alabama? Federal requirements can be found in EEO - Discrimination: Federal.

Recruiting and Hiring

E-Verify

Under the Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, an employer must participate in the federal E-Verify program to verify the employment eligibility of all new hires.

Salary History Inquiry Restrictions

An Alabama employer may not refuse to interview, hire, promote, or employ an applicant for employment, or retaliating against an applicant because the applicant does not provide wage history.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on recruiting and hiring practices in Alabama can be found in Immigration, Form I-9 and Work Visas: Alabama and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Alabama? Federal requirements can be found in Immigration, Form I-9 and Work Visas: Federal.

Wage and Hour

Child labor laws in Alabama restrict the occupations in which minors may be employed and the number of hours and times during which they may work.

All minors are prohibited from working in hazardous occupations, and minors under the age of 16 are prohibited from working in a variety of other occupations such as manufacturing or building trades. Child labor laws also list many occupations in which minors are actively permitted to engage, such as delivering newspapers and agricultural services.

Minors who are 14 or 15 years of age may not work:

  • More than six days, or more than 40 hours, in any one week;
  • More than eight hours in any one day; or
  • Before 7:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m. during school summer vacation.

When school is in regular session, minors who are 14 or 15 years of age may not work:

  • More than six days in any one week;
  • More than eight hours on a nonschool day, or more than three hours on a school day;
  • More than 18 hours in any school week; and
  • Before 7:00 a.m. or after 7:00 p.m.

Additionally, minors who are 16, 17 or 18 years of age, and who are enrolled in any public or private primary or secondary school system, may not work between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. on any night preceding a school day.

Minors who are 14 or 15 years of age may not work more than five hours continuously without a meal or rest period of at least 30 minutes.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on wage and hour practices in Alabama can be found in Child Labor: Alabama, Alabama Workplace Labor and Employment Law Posters and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Alabama? Federal requirements can be found in Child Labor: Federal.

Pay and Benefits

The only deductions from employees' wages that are expressly prohibited are mandatory deductions for union dues, fees or other charges that are a condition of employment.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on pay and benefits practices in Alabama can be found in Payment of Wages: Alabama and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Alabama? Federal requirements can be found in Payment of Wages: Federal.

Time Off and Leaves of Absence

Alabama has several laws relating to required time off and leaves of absence for employees. These laws include:

  • Crime victim leave;
  • Jury duty leave;
  • Military leave;
  • Emergency responder leave;
  • Voting leave; and
  • Election official leave (covering employers with 26 or more employees).

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on time off and leave of absence practices in Alabama can be found in the Alabama Employee Handbook Table of Contents, Jury Duty: Alabama, USERRA: Alabama, Other Leaves: Alabama and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Alabama? Federal requirements can be found in Jury Duty: Federal, USERRA: Federal and Other Leaves: Federal.

Health and Safety

Key Alabama requirements impacting health and safety are:

Smoke-Free Workplace

The Alabama Clean Indoor Air Act prohibits smoking in any public place, including places of employment. However, an employer with five or more employees may create and maintain a smoking policy that designates specific smoking areas within the workplace or that bans smoking from the workplace altogether. Proper signage must be posted throughout the workplace, in all nonsmoking areas.

Weapons in the Workplace

An employer may not prohibit an employee from keeping a gun in a privately owned vehicle in an employer-owned parking lot, as long as certain conditions are met.

Safe Driving Practices

Alabama prohibits the use of a wireless communication device to manually write, send or read a text-based communication while driving. The use of a voice-operated device is allowed.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on health and practices in Alabama can be found in the Alabama Employee Handbook Table of Contents, Employee Health: Alabama, Workplace Security: Alabama, HR and Workplace Safety: Alabama and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Alabama? Federal requirements can be found in Employee Health: Federal, Workplace Security: Federal and HR and Workplace Safety (OSHA Compliance): Federal.

Organizational Exit

An Alabama employer must notify the Alabama Unemployment Compensation Call Center Operations of a mass separation. The employer must provide the number of involved employees and the expected mass separation or termination date no later than the actual date of the mass separation or termination.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on organizational exit practices in Alabama can be found in Involuntary Terminations: Alabama and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Alabama? Federal requirements can be found in Involuntary Terminations: Federal.