A working knowledge of the rights bestowed upon employees in the United States contributes to a fuller sense of liberty. Such knowledge complements a knowledge of international standards regarding the workplace. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) ensures every person that she is entitled to a free choice of employment in just and favourable conditions. Employee rights in various jurisdictions help uphold such standards.
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Fair wages come from fair standards. According to the book, "Your Rights in the Workplace," the United States' Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the most important and influential law guaranteeing fair payment to workers. The FLSA establishes the federal minimum wage and regulates overtime requirements and child labour restrictions. Additionally, United States employers often must meet local standards, which rise higher than FLSA standards. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) notes that, as of July 2009, the federal minimum wage is £4.70 per hour.
The Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA) assures employees that garnished wages do not constitute a basis for termination. Under the FLSA, hazard pay must be given to employees when work imposes a physical hardship not easily mitigated by protective devices. An example of this may be working overnight hours. After being terminated or quitting, an employee is not entitled to immediate payment of owed wages. However, in harmony with DOL recommendations, if no payment is received by the next scheduled payday, the separated employee should either contact the federal DOL or local labour authorities.
Sexual harassment trainings and policies inherent in most workplaces demonstrate harassment's unfortunate extent. However, every employee is legally protected from unwanted sexual conduct or comments contributing to a hostile, intimidating or offensive work environment. If an employee experiences unjust consequences (including demotion and termination) for refusing sexual advances or participation in offensive behaviour, the Civil Rights Act supports compensation for losses stemming from such consequences, including reinstatement to lost positions. Further supporting civil rights, United States equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws prohibit specific types of discrimination in certain workplaces, according to the DOL.
The UDHR also affirms that every person is entitled to protection from unemployment. The DOL's Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs give financial benefits to employees losing their jobs against their apparent will. Additionally, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) provides eligible employees and their families with continued health coverage following the loss of health coverage provided by their employer.
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