Fair treatment of employees is an ethical category and, as such, it is prone to interpretation. In order to avoid a scenario where unethical employers abuse this ambiguity, there’s a series of rules and regulations under the umbrella of employment law. As an employee, it’s pivotal that you fully understand them so that you can protect your rights. Depending on government institutions and labour unions is not a very sound plan, seeing as how you need to be in charge of your own legal protection. So, here’s what you need to know about this subject.
Unpaid wages and hour problems
The single biggest issue that the majority of people have in their work relationship is the fact that they might not get paid fairly for their own labour. This is a serious issue and it’s one of the first things regulated by the employment law. Apart from this, there are some employees who are forced to work overtime without any compensation. According to the labour law, you’re entitled to bonuses for every hour overtime and a special bonus for working on holidays and weekends. Still, this is something that you should get familiar with as soon as possible.
The main thing that you need to understand about discrimination is the fact that lines are blurrier than you would assume them to be and they are not always so straightforward. Simply put, discrimination is the unjust or prejudicial treatment of people based on a certain category that they fit into. Having someone discriminate against you based on your religion, gender, sexual orientation or race is both wrong and illegal but the other party might not always be forthcoming about their motives. Also, bear in mind that discrimination based on personal animosity (retaliation) is still the single most common reason for employment discrimination.
Benefits and leaves
Remember that while the employee-employer relationship is conceived and regulated on a quid pro quo basis, it’s not as simple as labour for pay. An employee is also entitled to certain benefits that they should insist on and never forsake. For instance, if you get sick, you’re entitled to sick leave. If something happens to a close family member, you get family/medical leave and so on. Care coverage, pensions, leave eligibility and other topics are something that you should get familiar with early on and not wait for the moment where you’re actually in need of this information.
The main reason for the majority of lawsuits is the so-called wrongful termination. Whenever an employee suspects that the real reason for their layoff is unfair or, at least, different from what was officially stated, they feel like they can sue for wrongful termination. Moreover, feeling that you were wronged (even knowing it) is different from being able to prove it or pushing this through in the court of law. According to veterans behind Leyden Legal, what you need on your side are legal counsel and professional representation.
Getting injured while doing your job can make you eligible for compensation. This is important for several reasons. The stress (both physical and mental) that you’ve endured is hard on everybody and getting at least something in return is more than welcome. Also, during the recovery process, you may be unable to work and, therefore, suffer from impaired income. This way, you won’t have to worry about your immediate financial situation. If the damage caused by the accident is serious/permanent, you might want to claim disability compensation but this is a story for another time.
Whistleblowing and retaliation
Lastly, you need to understand that it’s quite possible that your employee will ask you to do something illegal or unethical. You’re in no way obliged to follow through on this and, in court, the fact that you were ordered to do so will not absolve you of any guilt. It is your legal and moral obligation to inform the authorities or even public opinion of these events/practices, however, this might put you in a bit of a rough spot. In order to overcome it, you should definitely learn a thing or two about the local whistle blowing law.
As we’ve already mentioned, it’s incredibly important that you know how to recognize when you have been wronged and if you have any rights that you aren’t currently using. Just remember that every single one of these situations needs to be observed through the lens of a broader context and it’s definitely something that your employer will try to use in their favour. This is the main reason why you need to get professional help. Other than lacking necessary knowledge and experience, you’re just too close to the case in question. Sometimes, you need someone with an objective approach to helping you get what you need.