Do You Understand Your Rights As An Employee?
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Last Updated on by Noni May
Any business that employs people has a responsibility to those members of staff. There are certain rights that should be afforded to all employees and it’s up to the business to make sure that they are. In most cases, business owners are honest and reliable and they will ensure that everything is above board and your rights in the workplace are not violated. Unfortunately, there will always be employers that want to cut corners and save money by breaking the law and violating employee rights in the workplace.
This often goes unnoticed and the employer is allowed to get away with it because the employees don’t know that they are being treated unfairly in the first place. If you don’t understand exactly what your rights are as an employee, it is impossible for you to know when an employer is taking advantage of you and breaking the law. If you are still unsure, take a look at this list of the main employee rights that you should expect in the workplace.
A Safe Working Environment
Employers may see health and safety legislation as a bit of a pain but it’s there for a reason. All employees are entitled to a safe working environment, regardless of what industry they work in. In the construction industry, for example, all of the necessary safety precautions must be taken and the right protective clothing must be supplied. But even in jobs that don’t seem dangerous, like office jobs, there are important rules that must be followed. Electrical equipment, for example, needs to be tested and signed off as safe before it can be used.
Your employer needs to follow health and safety procedures correctly and do whatever they can to make sure that your working environment is safe and the risk of injury is reduced. If they are not doing that, you are well within your rights to take action. If you have been injured as a result of bad health and safety practice, you should get in touch with somebody like alex hernandez lawyer services right away because you can make a claim. You will get a settlement and your employer will be forced to make changes to improve safety. Even if nobody has been injured yet, you should always report unsafe working conditions to your seniors and if nothing changes, you can anonymously report the company to the authorities. You should also know that if you feel that the working environment is unsafe, you can legally refuse to work until health and safety regulations are met.
Freedom From Discrimination
In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to deal with discrimination in the workplace. Unfortunately, it is still a big problem in a lot of companies and lots of people feel that they are treated unfairly in the workplace because of their race, gender, age, or disability. It’s a tough situation to be in because people worry that if they report it, they may end up losing their job or simply being ignored. In a lot of cases, it is their manager or somebody else superior to them that is discriminating against them so they assume that nothing will be done if they report it.
However, you need to remember that there are laws in place to protect you from discrimination and it is a criminal offence, so if you report it, the company has to take it seriously. The best course of action is to report the situation to HR because they will remain impartial and they can help you to resolve the situation. Regardless of who discrimination is coming from, you have a right to be treated fairly in the workplace and if that is not happening, you need to report it.
Wrongful Termination Laws
When you start a new job, it’s important that you look through the contract carefully so you know what your employment status is. In most cases, you will be considered to be in ‘at-will employment,’ and the law usually considers this the default. That means that your employer can fire you at-will without having to give a reason or any advance warning. However, in some cases, a contract will specify ‘for-cause employment,’ which means that the employer has to have a clear reason for letting somebody go. If you are on a ‘for-cause’ contract and you are fired for no reason, your employer may be in violation of wrongful termination laws.
Even ‘at-will employees’ have some protection under these laws as well. For example, an employer cannot fire you for discriminatory reasons like age, race, gender, or disability. They also cannot fire you in retaliation if you report health and safety violations or any other instance of law breaking on the part of the company. If you are fired from a job and you feel that it was unfair, you should always make a claim of wrongful termination against your employer. You may win your position back or win a settlement from the company.
The minimum wage regulations are one of the most important employee rights, but it can be easy for employers to get around them. Most people know that they are entitled to $7.25 per hour at minimum but people are less familiar with the regulations about how overtime should be paid and that is where employers may try to take advantage. For a standard employee, overtime must be paid at one and a half times the normal rate, so if you normally get paid $10, all overtime should be paid at $15. Unfortunately, it’s common for employers to ask people to stay for an extra hour here and there and they don’t get paid overtime for it. In some cases, they may be paying less than they should be for overtime as well.
It’s important that you check your payslip and ensure you are getting paid for your overtime. The only exception to this is if you are considered exempt for some reason. This usually includes salaried employees and people that earn over a certain amount.
If any of these rights are being violated in the workplace, it’s important that you speak up because there are legal options that you can take.
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