Employee Rights News You Can Use
Welcome to this issue of Your Basic Employee Rights eNews!
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Date April 5, 2009
Claim Your Employee Rights
Employee Rights are protected by state and federal law, our rights in the workplace may cover all sorts of issues. The things that can affect the success or failure of the employment experience usually involve different areas such as;
* Employee Assistance Programs
* Salaries and compensation
* Job Discrimination
* Unlawful Termination
With the worsening economic situation, illegal immigration, continued outsourcing of jobs and according to recent (EEOC) Equal Employment Opportunity Commission statistics of rising workplace discrimination, learning our basic employee rights has never been more important. I know from very personal experience how learning my rights in the workplace saved my job! Several years ago I was fired for alleged insubordination for declining to accept a change in work schedule.
Because I took the time BEFOREHAND to learn my Basic Employee Rights I was able to prove the change in schedule was a smoke screen for discrimination and thus was reinstated to my position. Contrary to what your employer may want you to believe, you DO have workplace rights. These employment rights include:
* fair compensation
* no discrimination
* workplace privacy
* pre employment
In pre employment rights as well as employment the career seeker cannot be discriminated against based on:
* national origin
* sex or gender
Unfortunately, all of the above categories are routinely discriminated against daily.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR BASIC EMPLOYEE RIGHTS!
(1) Learn your basic employee rights BEFORE seeking and accepting employment.
There is no better way to prepare for the workplace than to educate and raise your awareness about employee rights. But, that's why you subscribed to Basic Employee Rights eNews right? ;) Applied knowledge always brings confidence and removes the fear of the unknown.
(2) ALWAYS TALK TO YOUR EMPLOYER
First things should always be first. Sometimes miscommunication or the lack of effective communication is the root of the problem. Calmly and coolly tell him/her your concerns. Before meeting, briefly reflect on the issues and how they may be resolved. Above all, keep negative emotions in check. Not maintaining control may cause you to make accusations you can't prove. It is important to have a firm grasp of the facts that led to the dispute.
Try to reach resolution with the manager, supervisor or owner about what will come out of the meeting. Ask questions like, "Will there be an investigation?", "What will the nature of the investigation be?", Will there be discussions with co-workers, other supervisors, (HR) human resources, vendors or customers?", "Will there be a review of company policies?" I also make it a point to ask if there will be any changes in my employment because of my inquiry.
These changes could involve shift changes, performance reviews, who I report to, job description, etc. Tragically, some employers view employees who are aware of their basic employee rights as a threat rather than an asset. Therefore, it is critical for the employee to be able to recognize and prepare for retaliation and other adverse action on the part of the employer.
(3) DOCUMENTATION, DOCUMENTATION, DOCUMENTATION
In the real estate world the word is "location, location, location". In the employee world it's "documentation, documentation, documentation". Part of preserving your rights in the workplace involves maintaining a written record to support your concerns.
I make notes on times, dates, people present, memos, emails, company policy, job evaluations, employee handbooks and the like. Be careful and tactful when approaching co-workers, vendors or even customers being willing to assist and support you in things they may have witnessed or have knowledge of. They are thinking about keeping their jobs and they also may be used as tools by management to get rid of you! Sadly, many employees when faced with making a stand for their employee rights simply won't. I know from experience how stressful protecting rights in the workplace can be.
I also know the feeling of empowerment that comes when my employer realizes it can't walk all over me. If you take or record documents that are considered confidential it could jeopardize your position and any potential lawsuit.
(4) BE AWARE OF DEADLINES FOR LAWSUITS
In the event your employer takes adverse action against you, such as creating a hostile work environment, harassment, firing, demoting, etc, seek an attorney with expertise in employment law. Let me say that again, seek an attorney with expertise in employment law. This professional will be able to advise you on how to navigate the legal process. A qualified employment lawyer will also guide you in options, claims and what to expect if you choose to sue your employer. The attorney will let you know about any and all deadlines or "statute of limitations" in filing a lawsuit.
DON'T YOU ASSUME
Career seekers and employees should never ever ASSUME managers, supervisors, (HR) human resource personnel or business owners have been properly trained in employee rights. My personal and professional experience shows more often than not, they haven't! Employees that educate themselves about basic employee rights will always have a HUGE advantage in the workplace.
GREAT WAY TO DOCUMENT
In the event you need to document your employer's behavior try this. Email your concerns to your supervisor, they will usually email you back. Emails are an excellent way to create a paper trail showing your employers' intent. However, be careful to make sure your position is solid, otherwise your employer could use your emails against you!
The Next Issue of Basic Employee Rights eNews!
The (EFCA) Employee Free Choice Act
Will it help those who work for someone else?
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Written by Yancey Thomas Jr.
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