Every employee has a range of basic work place rights, such as freedom from harassment, fair wages and privacy. For example, employers cannot reject candidates based on gender or race. As you construct company policy, pay careful attention to your employees’ rights.
Basic Employee Rights in the Workplace
Employee rights vary somewhat from state to state, depending on local regulations and legislation. In most states, your employees are entitled to a basic level of privacy, including personal bags, mail addressed to the employee and personal work lockers. On the other hand, employees have much more limited privacy when it comes to using work-related emails and computer systems. Your employees have basic rights to
•Freedom from harassment and discrimination of all types and in all forms
•Safe work environments without dangerous operational conditions, toxins or unreasonable safety hazards
•Freedom from retaliation for filing discrimination-related claims or complaints against their employer
•Fair compensation for work
Title VII of the Civil rights Act of 1964
The Title VII is a well known and incredibly important piece of legislation that laid the groundwork for future anti-discrimination laws. It applies solely to employers with 15 or more employees and prohibits discrimination for the following characteristics:
•Race In the act, employers are forbidden from discriminating against workers in the hiring process and beyond. Discrimination may also take the form of denying career promotions or refusing days off for important religious holidays.
ADA: Americans With Disabilities Act
The ADA does several important things, including defining disability and compelling employers to provide reasonable accommodations for professionals with disabilities. According to the legislation, a disability is defined as a mental or physical condition that significantly impacts the individual’s ability to perform one or more major life activities. Employers are not allowed to discriminate against workers with a disability who are otherwise fully qualified for the position. If the worker requires reasonable accommodations to perform work functions, the employer is required to provide such accommodations as long as they do not cause undue stress on the business.
ADEA: Age Discrimination in Employment Act
The ADEA specifically address age discrimination for individuals of the age of 40 and over. For your business to fall under the jurisdiction of the act, you must have at least 20 employees. The ADEA is designed to prevent employers from affording preferential treatment to younger professionals, to the disadvantage of workers of 40 years or older. Notably, it does not prevent employers from favoring older professionals over younger counterparts.
FLSA: Fair Labor Standards Act
The FSLA is responsible for regulating the duration of workdays and stipulates breaks an employer is obligated to allow. Furthermore, the legislation sets salary minimums and overtime requirements on the federal level. Though the act is responsible for national standards, many states have their own labor laws and regulations that add to federal guidelines.
FMLA: Family and Medical Leave Act
The FMLA guarantees employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave annually without the threat of losing their position. To qualify for this leave, employees must have been with the company for at least 1 year and have worked at least 1,250 hours in the year preceding leave. The employee must take leave under certain circumstances, such as sudden serious illness of a direct family member or paternity leave. Though the act only guarantees unpaid leave, employees may elect to use any paid leave they’ve accumulated, or you as the employer may require them to use paid leave in advance and in writing. Even job applicants retain certain rights before being formerly hired, so leave no stone unturned in your research into employee rights. Make sure you provide a safe and welcoming environment for all of your employees, and be aware of your own legal obligations.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.