What Are Your Rights as an Employee?

What Are Your Rights as an Employee

Employee benefits and safety and hiring and advancement used to be at the discretion of their employers. However, worker rights gained pace in the 20th century as people pushed for it, culminating in a succession of crucial labor protection legislation on which today’s millions of Americans rely. It’s estimated that the United States Department of Labor is now enforcing over 180 worker protection regulations. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the U.S. oversees other types of safeguards, such as those relating to discrimination in employment.

We all have exclusive rights afforded by the federal government. Concerning employee rights in the workplace, several federal laws protect employees from mistreatment, such as those listed below.

Workplace Safety

The Department of Labor’s OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) enforced standards for the safety of the workplace, appropriate training, and reporting of work conditions that might be unsafe or violating. These rules are for the prevention of hazardous work conditions that can lead to death or severe injury. Lastly, the agency also guarantees that an employer cannot subject whistleblowers to retaliation for reporting workplace safety violations.

Family Leave

President Bill Clinton enacted the statute Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in 1993. Therefore, qualified employees can take up to 12 weeks of leave without pay each year if they choose to stay home after adopting a child, having new childbirth, or if they become seriously ill or a member of their immediate family.

To be eligible for FMLA benefits, you have to complete at least 1,250 hours in the previous year and have been with the business for a minimum of 12 months. Additionally, the legislation only applies to firms with 50 or more employees within a radius of 75 miles (120.7 km).

Fair Pay

The FLSA (Fair Labor Standards) of 1938 is the foundation of several laws regarding fair compensation. Under this mandate, employees with an hourly wage are ensured minimum office payouts and eligibility for overtime pay after working more than 40 hours in a week. Also, overtime is not only for those paid by the hour — but several states also require employees to receive extra overtime compensations for their earned commissions.

Unemployment Benefits

Every state has its unemployment insurance agency, and benefits are provided through a joint federal-state program for unemployed people. The states administer unemployment benefits, but they must adhere to strict federal rules.

To qualify for unemployment payments, unemployed people must fulfill their state’s prerequisites and have reasonable circumstances beyond their control, such as getting fired or laid off. Beneficiaries generally last up to 26 weeks. However, there can sometimes be payment extensions during economic downturns.

Even while it is not as substantial as unemployment benefits in certain European nations, the United States unemployment system assures citizens at least several months of stability when they abruptly quit the workplace.


When it comes to workplace rights, employees having the freedom to enjoy a workplace free from discrimination is a broad topic with several laws to protect it. With the rampant running of discrimination in our society, these measures aim to maintain equality in the workplace. Title VII 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on national origin, religion, race, sex, or color. Individuals with disabilities also have the protection of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The said disabilities include:

  • Mental or physical impairments that significantly limit one or more significant daily life activities.
  • Having a record of the impairment.
  • Being regarded as to have the said impairment.

Sexual Harassment

The Civil Rights Act Title VII also provides sexual harassment protections that can lead to a hostile work environment. Such instances include sexual favor requests, unwelcome sexual advances, or any sexual or verbal conduct that might interfere with your ability to do your assigned task properly. It can create an offensive, hostile, or intimidating work environment. Additionally, sexual harassment also falls under workplace discrimination, and therefore, under the EEOC purview.

Health Insurance

As soon as the government approved the Affordable Care Act in 2010, employees at most large- and medium-sized businesses were guaranteed health insurance. If employers with more than 50 workers don’t provide minimum health coverage, they will have to pay a hefty fine as per the Employer Shared Responsibility Payment provision. “Full-time” employees must work a minimum of 30 hours per week on average to qualify.

Final Thoughts

What comes with employee rights is having insurance. If ever you encounter injuries or hazards within the workplace, you are entitled to workplace compensation insurance. You can discuss with your employer the terms of the arrangement. Today, employees in the United States enjoy a wide range of legal rights that aim to offer a minimum wage and protect them against several working hazards.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Most Popular

To Top