What You Need to Know About Your Rights

Category : legal

Wherever you are employed, and whatever industry you work in, you have rights guaranteed by federal law. Although you certainly hope you will never need to pursue any relief or litigation, you should be informed about your rights and understand how they apply to you. While your rights are many, there are three that rise to the top in importance.

Your Rights Against Discrimination

In hiring, promotion, or job assignment, you are protected against discrimination if you are a member of certain protected classes. These include race, color, sex, religion, disability, national origin or age (40 years or older). Sex includes gender identity and expression, as well as sexual orientation. If you feel you have been discriminated against, you should take action. Keep records and document instances of discrimination by date, time, place, and people involved. First, file a complaint with the designated authority in your workplace. If the issue is not resolved, you can contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for further steps.

Your Right to Physical Safety

Even if you work in an inherently dangerous situation, such as dealing with hazardous materials or working in high-rise construction, your employer is required to make working conditions as safe as possible. This may involve anything from providing protective clothing to making alterations in the workplace to make it safer. Employers must follow regulations set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Employees that are put in danger have a right to file a complaint with OSHA. You can report by phone, email, or online at the OSHA website.

Your Right to Non-Retaliation

Whether your complaint is for discrimination, sexual harassment, an unsafe workplace, or any other concern, you have a right to file a report or complaint without fearing retaliation from your employer. You are protected from getting fired, demoted, harassed, having wages reduced, or being assigned an unfavorable position because of making a complaint on any level.

If you experience any retaliation, you can take legal measures. You can contact the EEOC, the DOJ, or your equivalent state agency. Going directly to an attorney is also an option.

Knowing your rights contributes to your safety and wellbeing in the workplace. Your employer has a responsibility to make information about your rights available to you, so it’s acceptable to ask about your company’s workers’ rights policies. When everyone is aware and informed, everyone benefits.

Read this next: Why It’s Important to Get to Know Your Workplace Well


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