Whether you work in an office as an accountant or sales rep or make a living doing a more hands-on type of job, such as cooking at a restaurant or as a specialist in plumbing and heating, your rights as an employee are protected by a number of state and federal laws — no matter what company you work for. Unfortunately, many people who have been unfairly treated by their employers or unlawfully terminated from their jobs are not aware of their rights as employees.
Knowing what your rights are as an employee can not only help you navigate difficult situations at work, it can also help you resolve conflicts with your employer or coworkers in your favor. Being aware of what your rights are in the workplace will also help you figure out when it might be time to consult an employee rights lawyer.
Continue reading below to find some basic information about what your rights are as an employee. You can request more detailed information that pertains to the state where you work from your employer’s human retargets office.
Employees in the United States have the right not to be discriminated against or harassed because of their gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, age, disability or national origin, or because of a health issue or because they are pregnant.
According to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), all workers in the United States are entitled to equal treatment when it comes to being considered for a job or promotion. Employers or potential employers may not consider employees’ sex, sexual orientation, race, religion, age, disability, national origin, health issues, or whether they are pregnant when making decisions about hiring or promoting an employee. If you feel that you have been unfairly passed over for a job or promotion because of any of these reasons, gather whatever evidence you can and consult a labor lawyer.
U.S. employees have the right to receive equal pay for equal work.
Employees who do the same job and have the same educational background, level of experience, and expertise, must be paid equally. An employer, when determining an employee’s pay, must not consider factors such as gender, sexual orientation, age, race, religion or disabilities.
To combat this problem and in an effort to be transparent, some forward-thinking companies are posting their employees’ salaries on their internal websites.
If you feel that you are not receiving equal pay for equal work for any reason, it is important to bring the issue to your employer’s human retargets office as soon as possible. You may not only be entitled to a raise in pay but to back wages as well.
Employers must not share their employees’ medical history, genetic information, financial information, or sensitive personal information, such as social security numbers, with any other parties.
Employees have the right to have any sensitive or personal information they shared with their employer, such as bank account numbers, medical records, or social security numbers, kept confidential. Employers must not sell or share employees’ personal information with health insurance companies, advertisers, or other third parties. Employees who discover that the company they work for has shared their personal information should consult a employment attorney as soon as possible.
Employees in the United States have a right to safe working conditions, as well as to be made aware of any conditions in the workplace that might compromise their health or well being.
Employers must make their workers aware of any hazards that may be present in the workplace as soon as they learn about them. This can mean disclosing information about certain people who may carry infectious diseases, the presence of hazardous or poisonous substances, and/or potentially dangerous or hazardous equipment.
Employees also have the right to be trained in the safe and proper use of any hazardous or potentially dangerous equipment or materials they are required to use to do their jobs. This can include anything from being trained in the safe operation of heavy machinery to the proper handling of certain chemicals or cleaning products. Employers must also provide their employees with any special equipment or clothing required to do their jobs safely. Such equipment may include things like safety glasses, helmets, and other protective gear, as well as ergonomic keyboards and desk chairs.
Employees have the right to refuse to perform unsafe work.
If an employee believes that their work environment is unsafe and that they are likely to endanger themselves by doing their job, they have the right to refuse to perform their work until the environment is made safe, without being dismissed from their job or retaliated against by their employer.