Being a part of the workforce is something almost every adult experiences at some point in their life. And while having a job can be a great way to earn a living, support yourself, and gain valuable experience, it’s important to remember that you have rights as an employee.
Unfortunately, not all employers treat their employees fairly and with respect. But knowing your rights can help you stand up for yourself if you are in an unfair or uncomfortable work situation.
There are several laws in place that protect the rights of employees. Although some of these laws vary from state to state, some general employee rights get upheld across the country. What are some of these laws?
According to a 2020 Glassdoor study, 61% or about three of five US workers have witnessed or experienced ageism, racism, gender bias, or LGBTQ prejudice in the workplace.
Discrimination in the workplace is illegal, and it’s important to know what qualifies as discrimination. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines workplace discrimination as treating someone differently because of specific protected characteristics. These characteristics include race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, and genetic information.
Workplace discrimination can take many forms. It could be as overt as making racist or sexist jokes to coworkers or customers. Or it could be something more subtle, like only giving high-level assignments to employees of a certain race or gender.
But whatever form it takes, workplace discrimination is illegal. And if you feel like you’re experiencing it at work, you can take steps to report it. You can seek support from your HR department or file a charge with the EEOC. In doing so, you could help protect not only your rights but the rights of other employees.
Workplace harassment is offensive conduct that creates a hostile or unsafe working environment. It can include unwelcome comments or jokes, physical gestures or threats, and repeated requests for dates or sexual favors. Like workplace discrimination, harassment is illegal. And it can be based on any of the protected characteristics mentioned above.
Workplace harassment doesn’t just make going to work uncomfortable—it can also impact your mental and physical health. That’s why it’s important to know what constitutes workplace harassment and how you can report it.
If you witness or experience workplace harassment, you have the right to address it. You can try to resolve the issue directly with the person who is harassing you. If that doesn’t work or if you don’t feel comfortable doing that, you can report the behavior to your supervisor or HR department.
Remember that you don’t have to deal with workplace harassment—you have the right to speak up and take action. If you do, you could help create a safer and more positive work environment for everyone.
Accidents happen, even in the workplace. But if you get injured at work, you may be entitled to certain benefits, like workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation is a state-regulated insurance program that provides coverage to employees who are injured or become ill due to their job. These benefits can include medical expenses and lost wages.
To be eligible for workers’ compensation, you usually have to report your injury to your employer as soon as possible. You may also be required to undergo a medical examination and follow your company’s procedures for filing a claim.
However, not all employers may be willing to give you the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve. If your employer denies your claim or doesn’t provide the help you need, you may be able to file a lawsuit. A reliable personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights and take legal action. This way, you can get the benefits you need to recover from your injury.
A lot of factors go into how much you get paid at work. But you can take action if you feel you’re not getting treated fairly.
The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour. Some states have a higher minimum wage, while others have no minimum wage. If you get paid less than the minimum wage in your state, you can file a complaint with your state labor department.
You may also be entitled to overtime pay if you work more than 40 hours weekly. Overtime pay is usually 1.5 times your regular hourly rate. So if you make $10 per hour, you would get paid $15 per hour for any overtime hours you work.
However, it’s best to ensure you understand your rights before filing a complaint. So, don’t hesitate to reach out to an employment professional. They can help you understand your rights and take legal action if necessary. In doing so, you could get the fair pay you deserve.
Many laws protect your rights as an employee, but the above are the primary ones you should consider. Being knowledgeable about employee rights can help you resolve issues in the workplace and ensure you are well-treated. If you have any questions or concerns about your rights as an employee, don’t hesitate to reach out to an experienced employment professional for assistance. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your job!