We live in a time today when employees have rights under the law. This wasn’t always so, which often led to the employer taking advantage of the employee whenever they could. This included unreasonable work hours, horrible pay, and work conditions that would rival modern-day sweatshops. Now there are laws that ensure that the employer-employee relationship is protected and that employees have rights if the laws are violated. If you feel as if one of your rights as an employee have been violated you should contact the nearest Fresno employment law attorney.
This isn’t just for current employees either. Former employees and anyone who is applying for a job are also protected under laws. That doesn’t mean that employers try to skirt around the rules at times. There’ve been many lawsuits and legal disputes between employees and employers someone feels that their rights are being violated. It’s also not uncommon for a job applicant to feel as if they were denied due to discrimination which is also outlawed.
There are laws employers must follow regarding situations like wages, safety concerns, wrongful termination, over time, and discrimination. Knowing what your rights are is part of the essential balance of power so that you don’t get taken advantage of. It also makes sure that where you work is a functioning and safe place of business for you, other workers, and customers.
An Overview of Employee Rights
One big right you might not realize that you have is the right to privacy. Most states actually have laws they give you the right to your own privacy at your work. This includes your personal possessions. No boss has the right to look in your wallet, your purse, bags, or even storage lockers that were assigned to you. Your phone conversations and text messages are also private, meaning it’s illegal to tape or record any personal conversations you have or go through your stuff.
You should also expect that you can go to work without being harassed or discriminated against. Your workplace should be clean and free of anything that can hurt you, including toxic substances. If you deal with that kind of stuff, your employer needs to provide you with all the protection you need to do your job safely. You have the right to be paid a fair wage per the work that you do. You even have rights if you apply for a job.
Job Applicant Rights
Even if you haven’t been hired yet, the potential employer still has to abide by laws and not violate your rights. Sadly, too many employers have been found guilty of discriminating against an applicant for one reason or another. You have the right to not be discriminated against based upon your race, gender, your age, national origin, or your religion.
The potential employer cannot ask you a series of questions that would reveal personal information about yourself or your family. They can’t just conduct a credit or background check into your past without letting you know both in writing and without your permission to do so. The problem with violating these rights is that it can be difficult to prove that you are discriminated against. You may not know that the reason you didn’t get the job is due to one or more discriminatory factors.
You should be aware of all of your rights under the law. Every state might have differing laws and requirements. Then there are some laws that apply to every state. There are safety regulations that are mandatory based upon both state and federal guidelines. Some states have higher or lower minimum wage requirements that must be met. This is why it’s important for you to do your due diligence before applying for and accepting a job offer.
Federal Employment Rules and Requirements
As stated above, not all the rules and regulations are issued by the state. There are several federal laws that must be met by the employer. Let’s take a look at several federal employment laws.
No employer is allowed to discriminate against any potential or current employee based upon their sex, religion, race, color, or national origin. This law only applies to employers who have a larger workforce of 15 or more employees.
ADA or Americans with Disabilities Act
Along with the nondiscrimination listed above, people with disabilities cannot be discriminated against either. If you can perform essential tasks within the job while receiving reasonable accommodation from the employer, you cannot be kept from employment or fired. Disabilities are considered either mental or physical impairment that might limit certain functions of your everyday life. Most employers should be able to offer reasonable accommodation to allow you to work and make a living.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act
Sometimes employers like to discriminate based upon age. They might think someone who is older cannot do as good a job or as quickly as someone who is younger. Often times, older people who’ve been with the company are paid a lot more money, so they begin to phase them out to bring in younger, cheaper talent. According to the law, workers who are 40 or older cannot be discriminated against on the basis of their age.
Fair Labor Standards Act
Under this law, the employer must provide a fair work environment. That means that each worker is allowed breaks, overtime pay, and a reasonable salary for the work being performed. That means your boss cannot suddenly decide to deny you a lunch break or force you to work overtime without paying extra.
Family and Medical Leave Act
If you get injured or really sick, your employer must allow you to take up to 12 weeks off for a leave of absence. This must be done for qualified medical purposes only. That doesn’t mean you’re entitled to 12 weeks’ worth of sick days. This is specifically for people who get a prolonged illness or an injury that would keep them away from work for a prolonged period of time. The employee must have worked for the company for a full calendar year and at least 1,250 hours during that year.
Check out one of our recent blog posts about: Can I File a Personal Injury Claim in California if I Also Filed a Workers’ Compensation Claim?