Despite being greatly beneficial to the pursuit of better working conditions at the workplace and to avoid exploitative employers, most employees in America do not have an intimate understanding of their basic rights as workers and what is legal or not legal in the context of labor law. This can be a severe handicap when facing difficult situations at their job, as they often endure wrongful treatment for long periods of time without seeking any kind of legal help.
If you think your rights are being violated, or if you are looking to better document yourself on labor law to avoid trouble in the future, here are the 4 basic rights you should be aware of before entering the job market:
Freedom from Discrimination
This is one of the most basic rights an employee has even before entering the workplace. It is covered at the federal level and at the state level, with each state having their own particular set of laws.
Basic discrimination law protects employees from being harmfully singled out and harassed on the basis of their race or ethnicity, religious belief, age, nationality, gender, family status, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, and political convictions. This protection extends from the hiring stages throughout the regular day to day activities and well right into retirement.
However, it is important to know that some state law may not cover anti-discrimination for all the categories provided here, so the best thing to do when in doubt is to get help from an employment law legal consultant.
Right to Safety
The environment and conditions of the workplace should comply with the safety regulations that are required by both federal and state law by way of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This means that under no circumstances is it legal for employers to subject employees to dangers that may cause injury, sickness or death.
Though some types of jobs may inherently entail a few risks, the right to safety conditions by law makes employers comply with safety regulations and best practices to ensure employees can do their work while minimizing the chances for perilous accidents and other irregularities.
Right to Privacy
While it is true that the right to privacy is being currently debated due to how the internet has become an all-encompassing business tool that allows business owners to monitor the communication of their employees and limit their internet usage if they so desire, there are still things that are considered private and that are protected by law.
Examples of what can still remain private are the right to have private conversations among employees, phone calls and emails made from not-corporate phones and devices, lockers and other assigned spaces. Background checks required a written notification and consent, and drug tests can only be conducted under certain conditions.
If you think that there are still some other specific rights we haven’t covered you shouldn’t hesitate to dig a little deeper and research a bit more into worker rights. Government documentation is easily available through the internet, as well as prepared legal consultants. Just remember you have rights and the legal power to enact them.