What are my legal rights as an employee?
All employees have several inalienable rights that should never be violated under any circumstances. Those rights extend to job applicants and to former employees as well. Employees are the lifeblood of any business, and to the economy in general, so they deserve the maximum protection under the law.
Employees might not think that they stand a chance in any dispute since their employers will likely have contracts and a team of lawyers to enforce those contracts. However, employees have their own rights as well, and with a law firm like the Steven Rubin Law on their side, they have a very good chance of getting an employee/employer dispute ruled in their favor.
The Right To Not Be Discriminated Against
Discrimination covers a lot of ground, from race to gender to religion to disability to sexuality to age. A worker should not be treated unfairly because of those qualities, likewise, none of those qualities should affect whether a job applicant gets hired or not. Under the law, an employer cannot take any of the following actions against an employee for discriminatory reasons:
- Refusal to hire a job applicant
- The firing of an employee
- The disciplining of an employee
- The failure to promote an employee
- The failure to train an employee
- Demoting an employee or paying them less than other employees
- Harassing an employee
Additionally, it is illegal for employers to engage in hiring practices that screen out applicants from protected classes. The same thing goes for instituting policies or tests that disparately impacts those classes. If you feel that any of those actions have been taken against you for reasons not related to your job performance, then you should meet with an employment lawyer to take legal action against your employer.
Most employment is of the at-will variety, which means that the employer can hire and fire an employee at will, without explanation or advanced warning. There are exceptions to this rule though, one of which is if the termination is for discriminatory reasons. Such claims have strict time limits, so they should be filed quickly.
Employees also cannot be fired for retaliatory reasons, such as if they report an issue related to workplace harassment or discrimination. Likewise, there are whistleblower protection laws that prevent employees from being fired for reporting on illegal activity, or violations in the workplace. If the employee’s termination is in violation of their employment contract, then they have a right to pursue legal action.
The Right To a Safe Workplace
The OSH Act requires that a workplace reduce or eliminate any potential hazards to the employees. It also guarantees that an employee can be granted access to any inspections that measure potential hazards, like air quality tests and so on. The OSH Act also guarantees the following rights:
- Employees can confidentially contact OSHA to conduct an inspection of the workplace
- They can take part in that inspection of their workplace
- They cannot be terminated or discriminated against for filing a complaint about workplace safety
- Employees can obtain records of any work-related injuries or illnesses at the job site
Employers have obligations under the OSH Act as well. In addition to providing a safe workplace for their employees, they are obligated to perform the following actions:
- Inform their employees of any hazards and provide adequate training in hazard avoidance if necessary
- If a hazard cannot be completely eliminated, then employees should be provided with adequate protection, free of charge
- Maintain a record of any injuries related to work
- Display a list of OSHA citations and the OSHA poster in a place where employees can see them
Since employees spend a significant amount of time at the workplace, it should be a safe space that is free of any egregious hazards.
Make Sure That Your Rights As An Employee Are Upheld
If you believe that any of your rights as an employee have been violated, then contact an employment attorney as soon as possible. Employees are the most important part of any company and they deserve to be treated as such.