Employees play a big role in any business. They are the ones who actually create value for companies, by making sure that they execute all processes of production, supply, and distribution efficiently. Since employees are central for modern businesses to exist, it is remarkable that employees have not always had the same rights as they do today. On the contrary, there are still organizations in which employees lack many rights, which are considered to be the norm nowadays.
Even though every country has its own regulations on employees’ rights, there are some fundamental issues that are common to all countries. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 is one of them. It defines certain universal rights that apply to all people, no matter their nationality, culture, or religion.
Employees in the United States have certain rights that are protected by law. These rights include the right to be paid fairly, the right to safe working conditions, and the right to unionize. An employee who feels that his or her rights have been violated can file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which will investigate and try to resolve the issue.
Some examples of employees’ rights include:
Right to Be Paid Fairly
Minimum wage laws require employers to pay employees at least the minimum amount designated by law. The federal government determines the minimum hourly wage rate, which can vary depending on whether or not an employee is exempt from certain labor laws (e.g., tipped employees). States are also allowed to set their own minimum wage rates, which may be higher than the federal rate.
Employees who feel that they are not being paid fairly can file a claim with the Department of Labor. The Department of Labor will investigate the claim and determine whether or not the employer is in violation of minimum wage laws. If the employer is found to be in violation, the Department of Labor may issue a citation or take other enforcement actions.
Right to Safe Working Conditions
Employers are required to provide a safe work environment for their employees, free of any known hazards. This includes providing safety equipment and training and making sure that the workplace is free of any known dangers.
If an employee feels that his or her safety is being jeopardized at work, he or she can file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA will investigate the complaint and take steps to resolve the issue. Employers who fail to respond to or cooperate with OSHA may face penalties. These violations may also lead to criminal charges if there were serious injuries as a result of the hazard.
If an employee is injured on the job or discriminated against at work, they may need to seek legal help. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help employees understand their rights and determine how best to pursue them. He or she can also help file a claim and get the right compensation.
Right to Form a Union
Employees have the right to join a union and negotiate for better working conditions. This includes the right to collective bargaining, which allows employees and their unions to negotiate a contract with their employer. Employees who are part of a union typically have higher wages and better benefits than those who are not.
If an employee feels that his or her right to unionize is being violated, he or she can file a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB will investigate the complaint and take steps to resolve the issue.
Right to Equal Opportunity
Employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees based on their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability. This includes hiring practices, firing decisions, and promotions.
If an employee feels that he or she is being discriminated against at work, he or she can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Right to Privacy at Work
Employers are required to respect the privacy of their employees at work. This includes limiting how much an employer can monitor his or her employees (e.g., internet use) and respecting employees’ personal lives both on and off the clock.
If an employee feels that his or her privacy is being violated, he or she can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Right to Retain Representation
Employees have the right to seek legal counsel or representation from a union representative during disciplinary proceedings and other legal matters. This right allows employees to have an advocate during these processes.
Employees should know their rights before going to work. By understanding their rights, employees can be better equipped to handle any legal issues that may arise. The Department of Labor has a variety of resources available to help employees understand their rights.