You finally landed a job in the United States of America. After days and months of searching and searching, you finally got one. And in the next few days, you will start everything. You will process your requirements for that desired position. Then you will kick off your first day at work. And you get to wonder what your experience will be in this new environment, how you will get along with your co-workers, and many more. Then comes an important thought—your basic rights as an employee. Here are five basic rights you need to know and these might help you feel secure as you go through your daily activities in this new work environment.
Discrimination is widespread in practically all parts of the world. However, an employee is protected from many forms of discrimination. In the United States, many laws are in place so that every person in the workplace gets to have a fair chance in the field. Discrimination because of skin color, sex, religion, race, and country of origin are all forbidden under the Civil Rights of 1964. Discrimination because of a person’s age is further added under Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. If an employer is deciding for a certain job position, some corporate privileges, compensation package or giving a raise and promotions, this law aims to exclude age as a limiting factor. Another law is the ADA or Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. A person who can do important tasks at work yet having a disability is protected by this law from being disqualified by an employer when applying for a job.
The employees should receive a minimum wage if his work is paid per hour and he is also entitled to overtime pay should he render overtime work along with the commission if there is any. Also, all of the hours spent at work by the employees should be reflected in their payslip. Fair compensation is protected under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 or FLSA.
The right against employer retaliation is also commonly called the ‘whistleblower protection’. This right protects the employee if for example he or she became involved in one of the protected activities such as defying sexual advancements, refusal of any activities resulting in discrimination, getting information about compensation to disclose discriminatory compensations, and talking about certain harassment to a manager or supervisor. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or EEOC is the US agency in charge of this right and they impose certain violations.
Some examples of sexual harassment in the workplace are sexual and verbal conduct which obstruct one’s functions in the company, asking for sexual favors, and any unwanted sexual moves which result in intimidation or hostility. This right is protected by the Civil Rights Act and any violations are still under the scope of EEOC since any sexual harassment is also a type of discrimination.
Safety in the Workplace
Safety is important. An employee should receive medical treatment and compensation if ever an accident or injury happens to him while doing his work. Moreover, that employee must have the same or a new job with the same compensation when he or she returns to work. The agency that imposes guidelines for proper training, for safety in the workplace and disclosure of any violations or unsafe working conditions is the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA. This right aims to protect employees from an unsafe working environment which often leads to injury, disabilities, and impairments or even untimely death.
There we have the five basic rights of an employee under the US labor law that every employed individual must know. Knowing these will not only motivate us to fight for our rights, but to respect our colleague’s right as well.