Employment Law And Employee Rights
Employment Law, federally and state regulated, is concerned with such employee rights as fair pay, fair hiring and employee treatment practices, protection against workplace discrimination and harassment, fair pay, benefits, and protection from wrongful termination. The Right to Fair and Equal Pay for Equal Work Under the Equal Pay Act, federal laws passed in 1963 as an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act, employees have the right to equal pay for equal work, regardless of gender. Before the 1960's (and in some cases, still), women were doing the same job descriptions as men were doing, but getting as little as 30% of what the men were getting. One theory is the general thinking was that women were not the primary breadwinners and therefore needed much less compensation. This type of thinking, however, was little more than undefined gender discrimination, which was defeated when women began to prove they had no less seniority, no less experience, and were no less skilled than the same place male workers whom they were working right next to. In addition, all employees are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), a federal law that mandates payment of the minimum wage to all employees, even those who work for gratuities in restaurants, as valets, and as bartenders, for example. The Right to Protection against Workplace Discrimination Like the gender discrimination act, federal and state (in 13 states thus far) employment law is working to protect the rights of lesbian and gay employees. Federally, many protective laws have been passed to ensure that minorities, women, people over 40 years of age and disabled peoples get the same opportunities as everyone else--under race anti-discrimination laws, equality measures, anti-age discrimination practices, and the Disability Act, respectively. The Right to Safe Work Environment and Insurance Benefits Under the auspices of employment laws, and in compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act (also known as OSHA), employees have the right to an employer who provides a work environment free of safety hazards, health endangerment risks, and timely and accurate reporting of on-the-job accidents of problems. In addition, workers' compensation laws typically require coverage in the event of workplace-related (and some non-related) accident or illness. The Right to Protection from Wrongful Termination Under certain given employment laws, employees have the right to protection against immoral, illegal, and unfair termination. As well, employees ending a job term--whether fired, laid off, or whether they quit of their own volition--have the legal right to unemployment compensation and to certain severance packages, continued health and dental and life insurance packages (typically under COBRA), and even severance pay...depending upon the circumstances. Many other employment laws cover a great variety of employee rights--from certain degrees of workplace privacy, mandatory time off, regulated overtime compensation, and more. Every employee also has the right to know his or her rights. So in this the information age, we have the inalienable responsibility to learn what our rights are, how to exercise those rights, and what to do when these rights are violated. For this we can consult employment law websites that are thoroughly informative and rigorously accurate.
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