Employee Workplace Rights

Employee Workplace Rights
The appearance of labor law and regulations in the workplace is rather a new phenomenon. Labor laws became common at the end of the 19th century and developed during the 20th century. These laws regulate the employees` work hours and the pay they should receive in order to meet minimum regulations. The laws also provide safety precautions for both, employees and employers.

Employee has a lot of rights, which are guaranteed by the federal laws. All employees should know their rights about getting hired, rights under wages and hour laws, right to time off work, rights against workplace discrimination and harassment, right to health and safety in the workplace. They also should know about workers` compensation and unemployment benefits, right to privacy in the workplace, rights as to loosing or leaving the job and many more.

There are a lot of federal laws, executive orders, and so on as to the selection and treatment of employees in the workplace. The most important are federal laws established by the Employee Law - Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was created in order to ensure equal employment opportunity (EEO). These EEO guidelines are meant to give equal opportunities without discrimination because of race, religion, age, origin, sex, or disability. A lot of other laws are created to ensure safety of employees in the workplace, fair pay standards and good treatment of them (Perritt 2001).

There are a lot of employment-related laws. “The most common used are Unemployment Compensation (benefits to qualified, unemployed workers seeking work); American with Disabilities Act (ADA) (protection of disabled citizens); Employee Law - Civil Rights Act of 1964; Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act (COBRA) (continuation of health benefits), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) (health insurance coverage); Federal Employee Compensation Act (FECA) (Worker's Compensation) (injured workers); Child Labor Laws (hiring and pay of minors); Occupational Safety and Health Administration Act (OSHA) (safety in the workplace); Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)” and other (Walsh 2009).
So, the main employee rights at the workplace are: security in workplace, the right to fair treatment by the employer at the job.

Job Security means that an employee can’t be fired for nearly any reason. Employers can’t fire employees for garnishment of wages, writing employee’s compensation claims, reporting complaints of unfair labor practices, and reporting OSHA violations and whistle-blowing. But employees can be fired for workplace theft, excessive tardiness or absenteeism, alcohol or drug abuse, violence, false records, insubordination verbal abuse, sexual harassment, inability to perform the job (Blanpain 2007).

Right to fair treatment by employer means that employers should respect the rights of employee workplace privacy and be ready to give an advice on any problems that can hinder the satisfactory job performance (Wolkinson 1996).

At the same time, right to fair treatment in the workplace means that employees should be treated equally, with mutual respect from co-workers; they shouldn’t be overlooked or outright ignored by their employers.

Here is an example of my friend Jack. When hired by his present employer more than seven years ago, management asked a co-worker to train him. For the next three months every time hi asked the individual for assistance he ignored Jack as if my friend didn’t exist. The only time individual had acknowledged Jack, was when he found an opportunity to make Jack look incompetent. My friend later found out that his co-worker was upset about a promotion he was to get.
Jack employer’s attitude toward all of his co-workers including Jack was uncooperative, very rude and disrespectful, provocative also. The individual could sometimes even curse the supervisor! Jack was amazed management tolerated that behavior. That man is still a co-worker and has calmed down a bit. This case has become a part of the employment experience.

The situation with my friend Jack is not rare. A lot of the same situations happen every day, which is why employees should know their rights in order to have an opportunity to defend them.

Also there are many federal laws work in conjunction with each other, and laws regarding violence in the workplace are no exception. Some violent incidents in the workplace can stem from harassment, and there are federal laws that specifically prohibit the harassment or mistreatment of any employee on the basis of his sex, race, religious beliefs or sexual orientation. If an employer is aware of a harassment situation taking place at work, that employer is in violation of both the OSH Act and federal harassment laws. If a particular employer is found to be responsible (such as a manager or supervisor), that person can be brought up on criminal charges as well as be held civilly liable, depending on the severity and evidence regarding the incident. The business as a whole can be cited as well if it is proven that the harassment was known about and not dealt with effectively or prevented.

One more thing I want to discuss is workplace privacy. All employers desire to be sure their workers are doing a good job, but at the same time, employees are not eager their every step and sneeze be watched. It is the immortal conflict of workplace monitoring.

New technologies give an employer the opportunity to monitor many aspects of their workers' jobs, especially on telephones; employees are using the Internet, computer terminals, using voice and electronic mail. Such kind of monitoring is virtually unregulated. So, unless company policy really states otherwise, an employer has the right to listen, watch or read most of the workplace communications.

Recent surveys have proved that a lot of employers monitor their workers. The survey of 2007 made by the American Management Association and the ePolicy Institute showed that 2/3 of employers monitor the visits of web sites by employees wishing to prevent inappropriate surfing. Also 65% use special software to block access to web sites not related to work. Employers worry that employees visit adult sites with sexual content, games, social networking, an external blogs, shopping and auctions, entertainment, sports. Of the 43% of firms that monitor e-mail, almost 3/4 use technology for automatic monitor e-mail. The survey showed that 28% of employers have fired employees for e-mail misuse (Repa 2007).

Nearly half of the employers use video monitoring to counter sabotage, theft and violence. Most employers tell workers about anti-theft video surveillance (78%) and performance-related video monitoring (89%) (Forsyth 2009).

As it is understood from the information written above, there are a lot of federal regulations, state laws and municipal codes that protect the civil rights of employees in the workplace. Every employee should know his rights in order to be able to protect them when it is needed.

Work Cited:

Blanpain, Roger. (2007). The global workplace: international and comparative employment law. Pp. 220- 223.
Forsyth, Anthony. (2009). Fair Work: The New Workplace Laws and the Work Choices Legacy Pp.136-137.
Perritt, Henry H. (2001). Civil rights in the workplace. Pp. 807-808.
Repa, Barbara Kate. (2007). Your Rights in the Workplace. Pp. 454-456.
Walsh, David J. (2009). Employment Law for Human Resource Practice. pp. 11-12.
Wolkinson, Benjamin W. Block, Richard N. (1996). Employment law: the workplace rights of employees and employers. Pp. 313- 314.

Employee Workplace Rights 8.4 of 10 on the basis of 4010 Review.