As an employee, you must know your rights in the workplace. Depending on where you live and work, these rights may vary. However, some labor laws are universal and apply to all employees. This guide will cover the major labor laws that every employee should know. So, let’s dive in!
#1 The Right to a Safe and Healthy Workplace
Every employee has the right to a safe and healthy workplace. This means that your employer is responsible for ensuring that your workplace is free of hazards that could cause you injury or illness. If you have workplace safety concerns, you should bring them to your employer’s attention.
If your employer does not take action to address these concerns, you may file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). You can also file a complaint if you feel that your employer is retaliating against you for voicing safety concerns.
#2 The Right to Minimum Wage and Overtime Pay
All employees are entitled to receive at least the minimum wage set by their state or the federal government (whichever is higher). Additionally, employees who work more than 40 hours a week must be paid overtime at 1.5 times their regular pay rate. It is important to note that not all employees are eligible for overtime pay. Certain workers, such as independent contractors and some salaried professionals, may not qualify for overtime pay.
If you believe that your employer is not properly compensating you for your work, you can file a complaint with the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. Even if you are not eligible for overtime pay, your employer must still pay you at least the minimum wage for all hours worked.
#3 The Right to Join or Form a Union
Every employee has the right to join or form a union. This means that you can join an existing union or help organize a new one at your workplace. If your employer attempts to interfere with your right to unionize, you can file a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
You can even file a lawsuit against your employer if they engage in illegal actions, such as firing or harassing employees for union activity. You can also hire class action mediation services to help you solve matters without going to court.
#4 The Right to Not Be Discriminated Against
Every employee has the right to be treated fairly in the workplace, regardless of their race, religion, gender, or other protected characteristic. This means that your employer cannot make hiring, firing, or promotion decisions based on these characteristics. It also means that your employer must provide a work environment free of harassment and discrimination.
If you believe your employer discriminates against you, you can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC will investigate your complaint and may take legal action against your employer. Knowing these labor laws is important for all employees. It is your right to work in a fair and safe environment and receive proper compensation for your work.
#5 The Right to Family and Medical Leave
Employees have the right to take time off for family and medical reasons, such as caring for a new child or recovering from a major illness. The Family and Medical Leave Act protects this entitlement (FMLA). Your employer may not retaliate against you for taking FMLA leave or interfere with your right to take leave.
If this happens, you can file a complaint with the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. It is important to note that not all employees are eligible for FMLA leave. Eligibility requirements include working for a covered employer and having worked for that employer for at least 12 months.
#6 The Right to Have Proper Classifications
Employers may be tempted to misclassify employees as independent contractors to avoid providing benefits and paying certain taxes. However, it is illegal for employers to misclassify employees as independent contractors.
You have the right to be properly classified as an employee, not an independent contractor. If you believe your employer has misclassified you, you can file a complaint with the Department of Labor or even take legal action against your employer. Employees need to know their rights to ensure they receive proper benefits and compensation.
These are just six of the many labor laws that protect employees in the United States. Knowing your rights is important so that you can stand up for yourself if necessary. If you feel like your rights have been violated, don’t hesitate to contact the appropriate government agency so that they can investigate and help resolve the issue.