The Simple Guide – Do You Know Your Rights as an Employee in the US?

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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.

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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.

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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.

Veterans and Disabled Americans – The Ultimate Employer Guide

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Discussing veteran and disabled employment is a difficult topic, especially among employers and business owners. Some employers fear that hiring veterans and disable Americans may prove too costly in operational costs, while others have thought of serving those who have served and want to do well, but just don’t know how to actually go about getting veterans in their workforce.

The truth, however, is not as simple or dire as this picture paints. There are numerous government and non-government resources out there that list quite a few benefits of going out of your way to add veterans and disabled Americans to your work team.

You Can Get Accommodation Assistance

This seems to be the main concern for most of the employers who abstain to take an affirmative action protocol and actively hire vets and other disabled persons. They think it is too costly, too complicated or too risky to undertake depending on the activities they regularly perform on their businesses. But the government can—and especially in the case of disabled vets– and has implemented quite a few initiatives to help business owners with the implementation of reasonable accommodation for disabled employees.

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There are numerous programs like the Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) at the Department of Defense, the Assistive Technology Program from the Department of Education and the Disability Accommodation Program from the Department of Energy, which showcase possible solutions and offer instrumental guidance in how to best approach the challenges of providing adequate accommodation for disabled employees.

You Can Get a Tax Credit

Many savvy business owners know how to use the tax system not only to increase profitability but to do good. They know that hiring key staff can be a way to lessen their tax burden, as is the case with vets and disabled workers.

In the case of veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs runs a Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program that helps employers with things such as salary subsidies and salary reimbursements, assistive technology for reasonable accommodations at no cost. Also, there are two tax credits that directly benefit employers that hire vets: the Wounded Warrior tax credit and the Returning Heroes tax credit.

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General tax credits for hiring people with a disability also exists in the form of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, the Architectural Barrier Removal Tax Deduction and the Disabled Access Credit.

You Can Feel Good About your Contributions to Social Well-being

Having recruiting friendly guidelines to underrepresented groups such as people with disabilities and vets increases your chances to more rapidly deliver on your social responsibility while also diversifying and strengthening your workforce.

This means that your employees will respect you more and that your reputation will be given a boost among the people who care about providing quality of life to as many people as possible.

Ultimately, what every good employer wants to achieve when employing vets and people with disability is giving back to the community in a much meaningful way than just paying taxes. Hiring veterans and disabled people is a good way to meet your recruitment goals while also earning loyal and committed employees.