Thursday, September 1, 2022

Do You Know Your Rights As A Worker?

 If you feel like you’ve been wronged at work, especially by your employer, sometimes it can feel like you have no recourse and you simply have to either take it or quit. However, that’s not always the case. Although they can certainly change depending on what state you are in, one thing is crucial to make clear: you have rights. Yes, even in at-will states. Here, we’re going to look at a few of the rights that more employees should know and what you can do to stand up for them in some cases.

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Your right to get paid

It’s the simplest right in the books: if you work as agreed, then you get paid as agreed. There are many cases in which employers have withheld pay, sometimes as a punitive measure. However, they are legally not allowed to do that in the vast majority of circumstances. Similarly, if your employer isn’t able to pay you regularly or on the agreed-upon dates as stated in your contract, then they are breaching your rights, as well. Reporting unpaid wages if your employer has failed to pay you is crucial. If they have failed to do it for a while now, then you can even claim back pay to make sure that you are made entirely whole.

Your right to minimum wage

It’s not just about making sure that you get paid as and when the contract dictates. No matter what your contract states, you have a right to earn the minimum wage as it is laid out in your state. The vast majority of workers are entitled by law to minimum wage, and any employer who pays less than that is in breach of law. There are certain exceptions to this. For instance, waiters and other staff who are expected to make a living off of tips can be paid less than minimum wage in some states. Get to know what wage you are entitled to and claim the money you should be paid if you find your employer has been underpaying you.

Your right to a safe and healthy workplace

Aside from ensuring that you get paid how much you should, and when you should, the most important right that applies to every employee is the right to health and safety. Your employer needs to be investing in all of the right protections to not only avoid accidents but also to avoid putting any undue stress on your health. For instance, if you get sick due to unhealthy conditions in the workplace, the employer is responsible for that, too. Get a free consultation today from a personal injury lawyer if you have been hurt in your workplace and your employer isn’t willing to cover it. Make sure you stand up for your rights by pointing out any potential health risks that you take notice of, as well.

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Your right to be free from harassment, bullying, and abuse

Just as your employer is supposed to keep you safe from accidents and injury, they are also supposed to ensure that your job does not have you subjected to abuse and bullying. You have to make sure that you know the definitions of bullying before you make any complaints as some treatment that might feel a little unfair sometimes falls within the guidelines but, combined with more egregious examples over time, can prove a pattern of abusive treatment that you could take a stand against. Sexual harassment, in particular, is always against the law.

Your right to not be discriminated against as a worker

The way that discrimination works in the workplace can sometimes be a lot more subtle than being outright shown that you are being treated as lesser due to your ethnicity, age, disability, sexuality, or other protected status. However, there are still plenty of cases where it is as blatant as that. Even in at-will states, if you can prove that you are fired, passed over for promotion, or otherwise treated unfairly based on protected class status, then you have a legal case on your hands. Prejudice exists in a lot of workplaces and industries, so you have to make sure that you take a stand against discrimination where you can prove it. You’re legally protected against reprisals, as well.

Your right to be treated appropriately as an employee

Your treatment as an employee isn’t just about ensuring you’re treated with respect and dignity. There are legal distinctions between employees and freelancers who work with a business, for instance, that you should be aware of, such as differences in finances and how you make money. If you are working for someone who treats you like an employee, such as dictating when and how you work, as well as your own pay, but insists on calling you a freelancer and paying you as such, then they could be brushing up against the law. After all, employees are entitled to protections and benefits, such as insurance coverage, which freelancers do not get from their clients.

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Your right to a predictable work schedule

This is not the case in a lot of places, so it’s important to make sure that you know when a law is and isn’t applicable to your working situation. However, in some cities, you do have a right to predictable and reliable schedules. Employees in some sectors such as hospitality have been historically subjected to very high demands on their time, with employers taking advantage to get to them work whenever it suits their needs. In some cities (and one state at present), you are protected by predictive scheduling laws. If you live in one of these areas, be sure to stand up to your employer if they’re trying to make demands on your time that they’re legally not entitled to.

If you’re ever looking to make a legal stand for your rights, documentation has to be key. Take what proof or make what notes you can of offending behavior to prove your case and show your rights are being infringed on.

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