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Employee Rights

Legal employee rights that all workers have

There is a wide range of rights available to you as an employee, most of which are designed to ensure that your relationship with your employer is fair and balanced. This means that you are protected against discriminatory matters, occupational hazards and other unlawful actions that can leave you financially destitute or unable to secure work. From hiring to firing, employers must respect all federal, state and local employee rights. Federal employee rights tend to cover basic and fundamental issues, while state laws often elaborate on these, but never override them. Learn what your rights are as an employee in your given state and what you should do if they are violated.

Legal Employee Rights

A major area of concern is discrimination, and although the specific laws may vary slightly from state to state, the definition of what constitutes discrimination is expansive. Labor law, which governs the relationship and bargaining process between employers and unions, is often concerned with equal opportunity rights that prevent discrimination based on race, religion, age, sex or disability.

Wrongful termination is a closely related issue, as discriminatory issues are often involved. Some important terminated employee rights include requesting a copy of your personnel file, continuing your health coverage and perhaps even collecting for unpaid sick time and holidays. But while employee rights tend to attract the most attention, employer rights also exist to protect the employer's interests—for instance, an employer may not be able to discriminate among job candidates, but they do have a right to not hire an unqualified individual. Under some circumstances, the employer also has the right to fire an employee immediately.

Employee Rights Law

In many cases, legal representation will be vital to make a claim or effectively stand up for your rights as an employee. While labor law outlines a specific body of regulations and procedures in an attempt to create a fair and simplified process, things do not always go smoothly and there is rarely a benevolent resolution of conflict between an employer and the employee that disputes them.

While the employee handbook and employment contract outline your rights as an employee and what constitutes legal behavior for your employer, cases can be more complex than simply referring to a document. For instance, matters of workers compensation can be complicated with fraudulent claims, fear of dismissal or a lengthy settlement process resulting in far less compensation than you deserve. Keep in mind that the employer-employee relationship is not naturally balanced, and you'll likely need sound legal advice and calculated action to stand up to an employer's tactics. 

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