Employee Rights in the Workplace

By Mona Johnson

Any employee applying for a position has the right to be considered for the job regardless of race, nation of origin, age, disability, gender or religious beliefs. Any employee who is terminated for discrimination has the right to file a legal suit against his or her employer. An employee has the right to be paid for any hours of labor he or she has provided the employer. No employee can be denied a leave of absence for family and medical emergencies.

Harassment

An employee may not be harassed in the workplace by an employer or other employee. Types of harassment include sexual harassment and bullying. For example, an employer or upper management cannot pick on an employee or show favoritism of one employee over another. Also, an employee is only entitled to do those jobs listed in his job description. An employer or another employee cannot force an employee to perform any sexual acts for them. Employees have the right not to be harassed by mail, email, telephone or other methods in the workplace by an employer, upper management or other employees.

Wage Rights

An employee has a right to be paid for any hours of labor he has provided an employer. The rate an employee is paid varies from position to position, but the pay rate may not be less than minimum wage. The federal minimum-wage amount is currently $7.25 per hour, and all employees have the right to be paid no less than this amount. There are some exceptions to the type of employees who do not have to be paid minimum wage, such as farm workers, construction workers and agricultural workers.

Safety Rights

Employees who work in hazardous and dangerous workplaces must be given training on the health and safety standards that must be followed. Employees have the right to be provided with the property safety gear--such as safety hats and goggles--to perform a dangerous job. Aside from training, safety signs and warnings should be posted in the dangerous and hazardous working environments for employees. Any employee who is injured on the job has the right to worker's compensation benefits, with a few exceptions.

Right to Leave of Absence

Under the Family Medical Leave Act, all employees have the right to take a leave of absence from the workplace. An employee has the right to 12 unpaid weeks off from work in a 12-month time period. This act covers employees who need time off for medical issues for themselves or their family members. It also allows employees to take time off for personal issues, such as pregnancy or legal-adoption matters.

Right to Privacy

An employee has the right to privacy in the workplace. Cameras are allowed in the workplace, if it is company policy to have them. However, an employee must be notified that cameras exist in the work environment. Some states restrict the use of certain types of surveillance, such as one-way mirrors. The personal belongings of an employee may not be searched without reasonable cause. An employee's desk may not be searched without the employee's consent, unless it is company policy to conduct these random property searches.

About the Author

Mona Johnson is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, with a degree in communications. She began writing in 2001 and producing literary works in 2003 for T.A.D.D. Writes Publications. Johnson has experience with writing articles and blogs geared towards facts, keywords, fashion and other subjects.