Workplace Rights: A Guide for Employees

As an employee and citizen of the United States, it is your right to know employee labor law and your legal rights regarding your personal employment situation. There are a wide array of employment labor laws designed to protect both employees and employers. This Guide on Employment Law can assist you in finding the appropriate aspect of federal employee law pertaining to your specific work-related employee issues.  In addition, the guide provides you with the information you need to understand your legal rights in a given workplace situation, along with notes on the various state level laws that may be slightly different from existing federal employment laws.

Analyze Your Options

Problems in the workplace are difficult to know how to address.  However, the best initial action when a dispute about employee policies arises is simply to do nothing.  By doing nothing and waiting to accurately assess the situation from a non-emotional, objective standpoint with enough knowledge, you preserve every possible avenue of resolving the conflict.  In the heat of a dispute, rushing to slap your adversarial employer with a lawsuit may look appealing, but in the long run, the fact of the matter is that rushing to litigation is likely not the most beneficial solution for you at all. 

In reality, analyzing your options requires a little more information and a little less emotional involvement to depict your best course of action clearly.  In lieu of filing a legal employment suit, most work-related disputes resolve themselves through open and honest communication, probably through the informal mediation of an HR representative.  For more serious matters, or those that are best not dealt with internally, an employee may consider formal mediation, arbitration, or any other alternative dispute resolution method instead.  Realistically, the costs of litigation generally far surpass any amount of economic or personal damages in most work-related disputes.  Considering the costs of your proposed course of action to resolve a workplace dispute versus the benefits you wish to gain is essential.  Keeping this equation at the forefront of your mind during your response to a problem proves highly beneficial.

Talking It Over With Your Employer

Taking concerns, issues, and transgressions directly to your employer is the cheapest and most effective means of resolving your issue.  However, there is a method for approaching these matters, especially when it comes to Employment Policy and Law.  Generally, a polite, open, and constructive conversation between all of the parties involved in a workplace dispute can effectively resolve a dispute, or at the very least, provide the complete picture of all parties’ feelings and testimony on the matter. 

Understanding Your Employment Rights

Before entering into any type of meeting with your employer, however, it is highly beneficial to educate yourself on the relevant workplace policy and laws pertaining to your dispute.  The more knowledgeable you are, the more leverage you will have in any dispute, and employers will be forced to take your complaints seriously. By knowing your employment rights, you can more effectively present your case with a level of confidence that will prove very beneficial in any negotiation type scenario. 

Remain Objective and Recall the Facts

With the newfound legal knowledge at your fingertips, attempt to record the facts of the dispute at hand as objectively as possible.  In addition, consider and propose a possible resolution to your outstanding dispute as well.  Having another party to help with vetting your recorded version of events is helpful in maintaining coherency, order, and avoiding subjective statements. Sometimes, human error in memory may make recalling all the facts at once impossible, so rechecking all facts, quotes, or figures you have collected pertaining to an incident in question is essential.  Continuing to maintain a composed, professional, and collected posture towards any dispute is also important and adds credibility to your claims and contentions.

Page 2: Continued Employment and Legal Actions


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