All posts by Dorothy Morgan

Employee Rights

In the United States all workers have certain employee rights that are guaranteed by the law, except in certain disqualified positions in government and some types of government contractors. These rights help ensure that employers are giving adequate terms to employees, based on standards laid out in the law. While it may seem to some employees of bad companies that employee rights are nonexistent, workers actually have it fairly good in the U.S. In some cases, the situation is actually improving for employees.

Here are some of the rights that workers have:

The Right to a Safe Workplace: Every employer in the U.S. must follow strict safety standards as required by the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the government can inspect a place of business in order to determine if they are in violation. If violations are found, the business can be fined a large sum and even face federal lawsuit and be shut down if the violations are severe enough or continued. Employees are encouraged to blow the whistle on infractions, and are protected from retaliation from the company in the event they choose to do so.

The Right to Be Free from Discrimination: Discrimination is a touchy subject in the U.S. and our labor policy reflects that reality, Employers are forbidden from discriminating in any matter on the basis of race, color, religion, ethnicity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, or disability status. However, that doesn’t mean that employers are automatically required to offer preferential treatment to those who identify with groups that are considered disadvantaged; it simply means they can’t consider that information when making decisions.

Freedom from Harassment: The workplace is a zone in which one can expect basic measures to be taken to comabat any type of harassment that may occur. It’s a legal issue for the company, so there are incentives for them to act against any inappropriate behavior that has occurred. This includes sexual harassment and discriminatory harassment as well. Harassment is defined legally as “the act of systematic and/or continued unwanted and annoying actions of one party or group, including threats and demands.” Employers generally have stricter definitions of harassment than the government does, so check employee handbooks for the company policy.

Wages and Hours Rights: Every employee in the United States has the right to a minimum wage as set by the Federal Labor Standards Act. Compliance Document Service guarantees a basic living standard for all workers. This act also set the standard workweek at 40 hours, and requires that businesses pay their workers overtime wages of 1.5 times their normal wage. While this is intended to prevent abusive companies from forcing their employees to work long hours, in reality it’s an incentive for companies to hire more workers but give them fewer hours.

Workers in the U.S. have it pretty good compared to workers in other areas, such as parts of South America and Asia. While violations by employee rights do occur, and some employers seem to get away with almost anything, there are more good things than bad when it comes to rights in the workplace. Visit Compliance Document Services for more details.