3 Employee Rights in the Workplace
Knowing your employee rights is important for protecting your health and safety in the workplace, especially if you suffer an injury while on the job. Many workers go right from high school or college into the workforce and may be unaware of their employee rights.
Every worker in the United States has basic employee rights, but without knowing what those rights are, your employer can sometimes take advantage of your lack of knowledge. Protect yourself by knowing your rights.
As a rule, worker rights are outlined and governed by the federal and state governments. Some small businesses may not be aware of their legal requirements, and some businesses may be exempt from certain employment laws.
The Employee Right to Physical Safety
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) outlines and manages situations where employees have been injured by an employer’s negligence. They handle violations around illness and injury, responding to reports and auditing employer operations. When an employer fails to uphold basic employee safety standards, OSHA can place financial penalties on them.
Employees should report workplace injuries to their employers, and according to OSHA, employers are required to report serious illnesses and injuries that result in hospitalization to OSHA. Employees can file reports directly to OSHA as well.
If an employee suffers a workplace injury, he or she often has certain legal protections available to them such as workers' compensation or a personal injury lawsuit.
The Employee Right to a Discrimination-Free Workplace
According to the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, certain groups of employees are protected from discrimination in the workplace. The law makes it illegal for a business to discriminate against employees based on sex, race, age, disability, sexual identification, or religion. This means that a possible employer should never ask you any personal questions about your age, religion, race, or gender.
In some situations, discrimination might start with harassment and intensify into more injurious behavior. Keep track of the incidents with written information and report to your human rights department.
The Employee Right to a Harassment-Free Workplace
Workplace harassment is different from workplace discrimination — it is the active yet quiet persecution of an employee or coworker. An example would be if the breakroom were to have jokes pinned up on the bulletin board that poked fun at females in the workplace or different ethnicity traits. Even if it’s supposed to be funny, it can be grounds for a harassment lawsuit.
When a workplace does nothing about harassment behavior, employees may feel unsafe, and it’s possible that behavior could turn into something physically injurious.
Workers also have rights to fair pay and unions, and the government offers legal solutions for situations where your employer fails to uphold these rights. As an employee, it’s easy to believe that your employer has your best interests in mind, but it’s vital to know your employee rights so you know when your employer drops their responsibility.
At Carrillo Injury Law, we specialize in legal solutions for personal injury cases and workers’ compensation cases. If you believe you have a case, please reach out to us for a free consultation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.