It’s a shame but not at all an uncommon experience that many people do not know their rights at work. Not knowing the ways in which you are protected and afforded rights could mean that employers and other workers can exploit you and put you at risk. Here are some of the signs that your rights might be being infringed on at work, and what you can do about it.
Are you dealing with harassment in the workplace?
You have the right to be protected from harassment, discrimination, and the creation of a hostile environment against you in the workplace. These actions can greatly impact the quality of time at your workplace, leading to depression, anxiety, and fear that your working life might be under threat. There are steps you can take to shut down harassment, be it by reporting it, raising a legal dispute, or working together with others who have experienced the same thing to make sure that you have plenty of evidence to act on.
Are you not getting paid for your work?
Any attempts to prevent you from getting the money that is rightfully yours could be grounds for a lawsuit. This can even include cases of your payment being given out late. While there may be few cases of employers outright refusing to pay (though not zero), it is far more common that they will try to get away with not paying you the overtime that you are owed. If you work over 40 hours in a week, if you fall within the right categories, then you are owed overtime pay. It’s illegal for employers to have you work unpaid overtime.
Have you been injured at your workplace?
Workplace injuries happen all the time, but often employers will work to do what they can to prevent any claims from being pushed against them. If you have been injured in the workplace and it wasn’t your fault, then you could be entitled to workers’ compensation at the very least. In some cases, the employer may be responsible for negligence or worse if they were aware of a risk and failed to do something about it, meaning that you could take up a lawsuit against them. Employers cannot terminate you for taking legal action against them, either. That counts as a reprisal, which is illegal in and of itself.
Are you being threatened with, or have you been terminated illegally?
There are legitimate reasons that you can be terminated from your workplace. However, there are also reasons that could be defined as wrongful termination. What’s more, these even apply in “at-will” states where employers often mistakenly think they can fire you for any reason. If there is any indication of discrimination playing a role in those terminations, for instance, then you could have a case against them.
If your rights are being infringed on, then it’s important to start documenting it. Whether you aim to solve it internally or you work with legal help to get the assistance that you need, it starts with making sure you have a record of it.