As is the case in most walks of life, all employees have basic rights in the workplace that their employers are compelled to comply with. Among these include:
- a right to privacy;
- a right to fair compensation; and
- a right from discrimination.
But, while it is fine to have bills of rights in theory, how effective are your employment rights? To answer this, you really need to know what your overall employment rights are.
Right to Privacy
Most states have statute under which employees have a right to privacy in the workplace. Now, clearly a right to privacy doesn’t mean that you employer is not allowed to know what is going on in your life – otherwise how can you have a successful employment relation. No, your right to privacy in the workplace is more specific than this. Included are such matters as to have the right to talk and take phone-calls without your employer being allowed to listen in on the call (although, there are some professions which are not covered by this, stock-brooking being the notable exception).
Also included in your overall right to privacy in the workplace are a general right to privacy over your personal possession, which includes your workplace locker. That said, under certain circumstances, usually with an underlying suspicion attachment, your employer might override this right to privacy and ask you to show them the contents of your handbag or workplace locker. Failure to comply with such a demand may result in them being able to do this by force.
A noticeable overall general exemption to an employees’ right to privacy is with email and internet use, both of which are the subject of an employer’s right to supervision if you are using your employer’s computer system to send the email or access the internet.
Finally, most states also have a right to privacy when it comes to applying for a job; for example, employers are not allowed to undertake a credit check or background check on any prospective employees that they are interviewing for a job.
Right to fair compensation
As the name of the right suggests, the right to fair compensation means that your employer is legally bound to compensate you a fair amount for a day’s work. However, employees rights are not limited to a right to fair compensation alone, employers are also legally obligated to make sure the workplace is safe and free of any dangerous conditions, that if any toxic substances are in use they be regulated adequately and a general right that employers do not hire other employees who may place you in harm’s way.
A right from discrimination
A right from discrimination and harassment in the workplace follows the general right from discrimination and harassment. So, employers are not allowed to discriminate on sex, sexual preference, race, religion, or age. Moreover, unless the employment specifically calls for otherwise, employers cannot discriminate on disability – either physical or mental – if such person is qualified to do the work in question.