To keep a steady paycheck coming, many employees tolerate unjust treatment at work. Sound familiar? If so, you should know there are lines your employer cannot cross – and, if they do, the company can face costly legal action.
U.S employees are protected under federal employment and labor laws, but many workers are unaware of their legal rights. Below, you’ll find five key workplace rights that are important to know and understand:
1. You have the right to enjoy a workplace free from discrimination or harassment based upon your race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, or genetic information.
Harassment or discrimination at work is common, and can take many unpleasant forms, including denied opportunities and unwarranted disciplinary action. It is important to note here that “sex” includes pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity. “Genetic information” includes your family medical history.
2. You have the right to receive equal pay for equal work.
Men and women employed by the same employer must be given equivalent salaries for substantially equal work. Here, equal positions do not necessarily have to have the same job title; the law applies when two employees have essentially similar duties. Equal pay under the law includes various forms of compensation, such as bonuses and employment benefits.
3. You have the right to expect reasonable accommodations for a legally recognized medical condition.
If you are injured or sick, accommodations might include changes to your usual office hours or routine or may mean alternative job duties, if warranted. If you work for a company with 50 or more employees, you are protected by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which provides for up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave under specific circumstances. These include the birth or adoption of a child or a serious illness impacting yourself, your spouse, child, or parent.
4. You have rights pertaining to your wages and work hours.
Covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and individual state labor laws, non-exempt employees must receive the legal minimum wage for hours worked and 1.5 times their regular pay rate for overtime. Full-time employees are also legally entitled to rest breaks, including short paid breaks and an uninterrupted, unpaid lunch of at least 30 minutes’ duration.
5. You have the right to report workplace discrimination or a safety concern without fear of retaliation.
If you report sexual harassment (a form of gender discrimination), you should not subsequently suffer ill treatment by your employer or co-workers. Or, if you act as a whistleblower, reporting suspected violations of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act or other illegal practices, you cannot be terminated or otherwise victimized because of your actions.
Enforcing Employment Laws
As a dedicated employment law firm, Feldman Williams assists Florida and Georgia employees who have experienced adverse treatment in the workplace. Working to enforce state and federal laws outlined by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and U. S. Department of Labor, our experienced attorneys achieve highly favorable results for clients.
If you need to know more about your rights in the workplace, our specialties include:
Have you suffered a wrongful termination or other violation of your employment rights? We can help you fight for your job or for due compensation. Please contact our firm today to schedule a free assessment of your case.