Employees are the driving force behind every organization, thus it is very important that employers actually take care of the “human capital” behind every business. To run a business well, it is important that management keep the balance between enforcing their own policies and prerogatives as well as keeping their employees happy and protected.
Basic Employee Rights
A very common workplace issue is the lack of enforcement or the violation of employee rights. Everyone, regardless of ethnicity, gender, religion has employee rights – in fact, workers’ rights are considered human rights and under the United Nation Declaration of Human Rights and everyone has the right to:
- Work, free choice of employment, just and favorable conditions of work and protection against unemployment.
- Equal pay for equal work without any discrimination.
- Just and favorable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
- Form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
- Rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
Other important employee rights include protection against employer retaliation, the right to some privacy in some matters, the right to take a leave to care for a sick child/family member, and a safe and harassment free workplace.
Answers to Common Employment Law Problems
Given the growing diversity of the workplace, as people of different cultures and color work together under the same company, here are some common workplace issues resolved:
- Pregnant employees have the right to take a leave under your employer's policies, state law, or the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to give birth or to care for their newly born child.
- Employees who are required or permitted to work overtime must be paid premium pay for such overtime work. Overtime pay is for hours worked over 40 in a workweek at a rate not less than time and one-half their regular rates of pay.
- Sexual harassment such as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature is an actionable wrong, not just against the offending party but also against employers who refuse to take proper action.
- Regardless of fault, an employee with a work-related illness or injury can get workers’ compensation benefits. However, in exchange for these guaranteed benefits, employees usually do not have the right to sue the employer in court for damages for those injuries.
- Men and women who perform work of similar skill, effort, and responsibility for the same employer under similar working conditions must be provided the same wages and benefits.
- An employer is required to make a reasonable accommodation to the known disability of a qualified applicant or employee if it would not impose an "undue hardship" on the operation of the employer's business.
- Business policies such as English-only at work must show that it is a necessity and reasonable for the operation of the business. Likewise, any specification of an age limit (in job notices and advertisements) must be a “bona fide occupational qualification" (BFOQ) reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the business.