Workers’ Rights: Everything You Should Know

Workers’ Rights: Everything You Should Know

Wednesday 02 February, 2022

Are you aware of your legal rights as an employee? This guide will educate you about the most important labor laws and rules that will safeguard your employment rights.

Work occupies a significant portion of most people’s lives. Regardless of whether you enjoy your job or despise going to work every day, your company is required to protect some workers’ rights. It’s critical that you understand them so that you can defend yourself and demand what you’re legally entitled to. 

This article will go over some of the most significant workers’ rights that are in place to protect you as an employee in the sections below.

What are workers’ rights?

Labor rights, often known as workers’ rights, are legal and human rights that pertain to employee-employer relationships. These rights are enshrined in domestic and international labor and employment legislation. These rights have a general impact on working conditions in employment relationships. The right to free association, sometimes known as the right to organize, is one of the most well-known. 

Federal Regulations Ensuring Employee Rights

Employees’ rights are protected by a number of key federal statutes, which apply to employees in all states unless state employment laws give more protection. Many states, for example, have higher minimum wage standards than the federal rules, requiring firms to pay the state’s minimum wage. 

The following are examples of federal employment legislation

Minimum Wage

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) guarantees that all workers in the United States are paid at least the federal minimum wage. Since 2009, most private and public companies have been compelled to pay employees at least $7.25 per hour, while some legislators have pushed to raise that rate. Furthermore, the FLSA ensures that nonexempt workers are paid time and a half for any overtime they work.

Workplace Safety and Health

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is in charge of enforcing the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). Most private sectors are governed by OSHA or OSHA-approved state programs, which also apply to public sector companies. Employers who are subject to the OSH Act are required to follow OSHA’s regulations and safety and health standards. Employers also have a general obligation under the OSH Act to offer work and a workplace free of known, major dangers. OSHA upholds the law by inspecting and investigating workplaces. There is also compliance support and other cooperative programs available.

Family and Medical Leave Act 

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal statute that mandates that firms of a particular size give employees unpaid time off for significant family health crises or emergencies. 

Employees are entitled to twelve workweeks off after the birth of a child, to care for a spouse or child with a significant health condition, or if a major health condition prevents them from performing their job satisfactorily.

While the employee is on leave, it also ensures that the employee’s insurance coverage and job security are maintained. The FMLA aims to give families the time and tools they need to deal with family emergencies while simultaneously providing guidance to employers.

Whistleblower Protection Program

Employees must be able to speak up about workplace problems without fear of retaliation. Employees who expose or disclose a company’s infractions are protected from termination or reprisal under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Whistleblower Protection Program. Mary Beth Maxwell, worker justice, and labor policy and advocacy encourage workers to share their concerns without fear of being fired or demoted under these safeguards. Employers who retaliate against an employee in any way are breaking the law.


Author: Mary Beth Maxwell

Workers’ Rights: Everything You Should Know
The founding executive director of American Rights at Work and the author of the organization’s inaugural report. Maxwell was chosen in April 2009 by President Barack Obama to be senior advisor in the United States Department of Labor.


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