The first step in protecting your rights in the workplace lies in knowing that you have rights. Only after knowing which rights you have, will you be able to tell when they are getting violated. Sure, being mobbed by your boss is clearly a right violation but not every violation of the rights of your employees is so straightforward and obviously wrong. In order to protect you from some of these instances, here are five key employee rights in the workplace that you need to protect.
1. The rights of a job applicant
One of the things that a lot of people aren’t aware of is that you have the rights long before you even get the job. As an applicant, the employer has no right to ask you certain family-related questions. Also, in some workplaces where the employer insists on drug testing, they have no right to test you until they’ve actually offered you a job. Then, if you pass the test, they’re obliged to give you the job. Naturally, you need to be offered a contract before you ever set foot in the workplace (as an employee). A violation of any of these rights is a serious thing.
2. The paycheck
When it comes to the paycheck, things are highly regulated and any violation is a serious issue. Unfortunately, a lot of employees tolerate lapses and law breaks here out of the fear of retaliation from the employer. For instance, you have the right to be paid promptly, the right to a minimum wage (even if you work for tips), as well as the right to receive a payslip where all deductions are clearly stated. Also, your payment cannot be docked as a punishment for poor performance. Even though this is done all over the country, such practices are highly illegal and shouldn’t be tolerated.
3. Superannuation and compensation
Provided that your ability to work is hampered by illness, disability or an injury you may be eligible to claim superannuation insurance benefits and, in this way make up for a potential loss in profit. Keep in mind, nonetheless, that this is far from simple and in order to get things done, you may need services from a skilled compensation lawyer. This compensation or superannuation will ensure that you receive either a lump sum or monthly payments that are sufficient to keep you financially covered, thus financially insulating your family.
4. Annual leave and time off
Having annual leave and time off is not a privilege – it’s a right. Moreover, it’s pivotal for both your mental and physical sanity. Depending on the region and the industry, you’re entitled to about 5 weeks of paid leave every year. Sure, this also differs between full- and part-time employees. Other than this, you’re also entitled to family leave, which is pivotal for working parents. Also, keep in mind that even when you’re adopting a child, one of the parents is entitled to six months of paid paternity leave.
5. Getting laid off
Naturally, getting laid off for discriminatory reasons is illegal and it is something that you may claim compensation for. It’s also important that you understand that not all discrimination is based on one’s race, nationality, sexual orientation, age group, etc. In fact, the most common type of discrimination is the retaliation (over 51 percent of all cases of discrimination), yet, it’s one that often gets overlooked. Wrongful termination is a serious offense, as well as something that you shouldn’t tolerate. Also, you have the right to be paid quickly after leaving a job, even though your employer is not obliged by law to pay you right away (in the majority of states).
The most important thing you need to understand is the fact that while you are, technically, protected by the law, a lot of employees base their discriminatory habits on the belief that you won’t react once the violation actually happens. It is your responsibility and your duty to prove them wrong, not just for your sake but for the sake of your coworkers, as well.