When everyone goes to work, it is fair to expect that the employers care about the health and wellbeing of their staff, are aware of the rights they have, and then implement strategies and standards to make sure those rights are upheld at every given point.
However, unfortunately, the real world does not always work like that, and one of the best things you can do for yourself is to make sure you know what you are entitled to and what you should not stand for.
This piece will take you through four employee rights you should know about to ensure you have the best work experience possible and can sort things out if standards fall below the law.
Health and Safety Law Applies to the Workplace
First and foremost, your employers have a legal obligation to provide you with a healthy and safe environment – no excuses. An excellent and recent example of this is the many COVID restrictions that have been put in place around work areas to make sure employees can keep a safe distance and minimize the risk of spreading or catching the disease.
Other examples include running water to drink, the use of toilet facilities, decent ventilation, and equipment maintenance – especially those that can become a hazard.
Discrimination is Illegal
Discrimination is a very serious breach of the law and also happens commonly in the workplace. Issues to look out for include someone being treated unfairly due to protected characteristics or factors such as age, gender, sex, disability, race, religion, sexual orientation, and marital status. It is also important to note that the forms of discrimination can be shown in different ways and will either fall under direct or indirect discrimination.
An example of direct discrimination looks something like not offering a job position to a woman because she is pregnant. Indirect discrimination looks like a job having a minimum height restriction on a job role that has nothing to do with height.
If you feel like you are being faced with discrimination in the workplace, this is a serious offense that should not be ignored. If your workplace does not appear to be trying to rectify the problem, contact some experts at the Law Offices of Corbett Williams to find some legal support and help to sort the problem out.
Workers Compensation Law
All employees are entitled to workers’ compensation if they become unwell because of a job or get hurt on the job. This is the main employer’s law when it comes to sick pay, as corporations are not legally obliged to pay their employees if they become sick outside of work and need to take the day off.
Workers compensation (also known as worker’s comp) covers compensation for wages that are missed while the employee is in recovery, medical expenses that are accrued due to the employee’s injury, and in the worst-case scenario, benefits for those who were dependent on the employee before their death from a job-related incident.
It is worth bearing in mind that these laws can vary from state to state, so be sure to check what the law is in your particular area.
Minimum Wage and Overtime Pay
The Wages and Hours Division, which is part of the U.S Department of Labor, creates and implements strict and comprehensive laws which should be followed at all times. If you are in a federal job and are not being paid at least the minimum wage, then that is a crime that needs to be reported. However, there are different rules for those who work in jobs that are tipped. Depending on your state, it can be tricky to understand your rights if you are not aware of the minimum wage for both federal and tipped employees, as this can vary significantly. Be sure to be clued up on what you should legally expect to make sure you are not being short-changed.
Another significant financial point is that you should be paid for overtime properly. It is likely in many jobs that you will be required to work over 40 hours at some points, but if you are, you should be fairly compensated. That being said, there are some exceptions, which can be found here. Overtime pay is usually ‘pay and a half’ – which is the normal rate of pay per hour plus a half. If employees work weekends or nights, it is between the employee and the employer which rates of pay are agreed upon, though if it is overtime, it should always be pay and a half at the very least.
Understanding workers’ rights can be a bit of a minefield. It is important that you know your rights to help you avoid being taken advantage of or discriminated against by an employer or company.