All employees have specific rights that they can count on when they’re in the workforce. It’s imperative that they understand how employment laws protect them as they’re doing their job duties. If there are ever any issues that creep up, employees do have legal recourse.
Employees should carefully consider their actions when they realize that their employer is doing something that’s illegal. While there are laws on the books to protect employees who speak up, it’s sometimes difficult to put those into practice.
Here are three things employees should know:
#1: Your rights start during the hiring process
Discrimination and harassment are forbidden even during the hiring process. Employers can’t ask applicants about certain things such as their marital status, family composition, or religious beliefs. They can’t refuse to hire someone simply because of their race, gender, ethnicity, age or other protected statuses.
#2: Misclassification of an employee is illegal
Workers are usually classified as either employees or independent contractors. Misclassification of an employee as an independent contractor is illegal because it robs the employee of important benefits. It also impacts the withholding of taxes.
#3: Retaliation against an employee for exercising their rights is illegal
Employers can’t take negative employment actions simply because you file a complaint or speak out about what the company is doing that breaks the law. Some examples of forbidden actions include:
- An employer who reduces the pay of an employee because the person spoke out about safety violations
- An employee is terminated because they cooperated with an investigation into discrimination against another employee
- An employee’s hours are reduced because they refused to give in to sexual advances by their boss
Any worker who’s working for an employer that isn’t complying with applicable laws should learn their options for dealing with the situation. This will depend on what the employer is doing wrong. Working with someone who’s familiar with these matters is a good idea because this area of law is often very complex.