Labor relations is the study and practice of managing unionized employment situations. In academia, labour relations is frequently a sub-area within industrial relations, though scholars from many disciplines--including economics, sociology, history, law, and political science--also study labor unions and labor movements. In practice, labor relations is frequently a subarea within human resource management. Courses in labor relations typically cover labor history, labor law, union organizing, bargaining, contract administration, and important contemporary topics.
In the United States, labor relations in the private sector is regulated by the National Labor Relations Act. Public sector labor relations is regulated by the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 and various pieces of state legislation. In other countries, labor relations might be regulated by law or tradition.
An important professional association for U.S. labor relations scholars and practitioners is the Labor and Employment Relations Association.