You work hard every day, contributing to the ultimate success of your employer’s business. One would think that your efforts would result in the company respecting your fundamental rights. Unfortunately, employers far too often are not looking out for your best interests which may negatively impact the bottom line. Every year, tens of thousands of workplace regulations and employee rights are violated, so as to negatively impact the lives of employees and often their families.
Fortunately, there are resources at your disposal to defend your rights — and standing up for yourself can help create a more positive workplace experience for your co-workers and other employees in your industry.
Knowing your rights is the first step toward protecting them in the future. Here are five of the most common employee rights violations that occur every day across the United States:
- At-will employment errors. Most states, including California, have some version of at-will employment which allows you or your employer to terminate the relationship for any reason that is not discriminatory or in retaliation for an employee asserting his or her rights. Furthermore, some employment agreements provide for a certain contract term or that the employee may only be terminated for cause. You may therefore be entitled to certain legal protections before you are terminated. If you believe that you were fired because of a discriminatory reason or in violation of your employment contract, it is important to contact an experienced employment law attorney as soon as possible so as to preserve evidence and your valuable rights.
- Discrimination. Federal law prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based upon sex, age, pregnancy, religion, national origin, disability status, military affiliation, bankruptcy, and citizen status. California, by way of the Fair Employment & Housing Act(FEHA) has expanded upon the protections against discrimination and obligates an employer to take steps necessary to prevent discrimination, retaliation or harassment. Discrimination can occur at different stages of the employment process including the failure to hire, receive bonuses or promotions and ultimately an unlawful termination.
- Failure to pay wages. Though this concept may sound simple, an employer can deprive you of the compensation which you deserve in a variety of ways. In addition to failing to pay wages in a timely fashion, employers frequently fail to account for all hours worked, provide for meal and rest breaks and improperly classify an individual as an exempt employee so as to deprive them of the overtime compensation.
- Harassment. Workplace harassment is defined as unwelcome actions, communication, or behavior that mocks, demeans, disparages, or ridicules, an employee. Unwanted sexual advances also constitute harassment — as do physical threats and intimidation. Most employees know that employers are legally forbidden from committing acts of harassment. What you may not know is that your employer is also legally responsible for ensuring a workplace environment free of harassment. This means that if a co-worker, vendor, customer, etc. is harassing you, your employer must take the steps necessary to prevent harassment or potentially be liable under the statutory protections established by FEHA.(Government Code section 12940[k])
- Safety Issues. Another important legal obligation of your employer is to provide a safe workplace. This means following all OSHA regulations relevant to your industry, as well as complying with OSHA’s general duty clause, which states that employers must take all actions necessary to provide a workplace that is free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious harm. Similarly, an employer cannot retaliate against you for complaining about unsafe working conditions. (California Labor code section 232.5)
Is your employer violating your rights? Contact the Perrin Law Group today to preserve your rights! Learn more about how the Perrin Law Group can help with your employee rights and employment discrimination case, or contact The Perrin Law Group today!