A guide to basic worker rights

No matter what industry they work in or designated status — full-time or part-time — workers are entitled to certain rights and privileges.

No matter what industry they work in or designated status — full-time or part-time — workers are entitled to certain rights and privileges. A variety of different regulatory agencies and laws are in place to guarantee that workers are not subject to abuse or exploitation. 

"Labor laws enforced by different government institutions grant more specific protections."

Some of the most basic, across-the-board employee rights include:

  • A workplace free from discrimination or harassment.
  • A safe, non-hazardous workplace.
  • Fair compensation.
  • Freedom from retaliation for filing complaints against a manager or supervisor.

From these basic rights, labor laws enforced by different government institutions grant more specific protections. These laws may vary slightly state to state, but the federal laws are less open to interpretation. The following is a guide to some of the federal laws on the books and how they protect employees:

Family and Medical Leave Act
This act compels employers to let eligible employees take up to 12 weeks of unpaid medical leave following a qualifying event, without risk of termination.

The Americans with Disabilities Act
The ADA protects job seekers and employees from discrimination if they possess a qualifying disability, such as mental or physical impairment. It also compels employers to make "reasonable accommodations" for disabled employees. 

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1965
Often just called "Title VII," this act makes it illegal for employers with 15 or more employees to discriminate on the basis of race, age, gender, national origin or religion.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act
Helping flesh out Title VII, this act applies to companies with 20 or more workers and prevents discrimination against employees aged older than 40 years. 

Fair Labor Standard Act
From the Fair Labor Act comes the establishment of wage and compensation guidelines, including minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping and minimum age requirement for employment. 

If you have had your rights violated, you may need legal counsel. Contact The Meyers Law Firm today to talk to our free consultation lawyers about your rights.