The phrase “job rights” generally refers to the types of rights that workers and employees have in relation to their work arrangement. Employee rights typically include those rights that employers are required to give their employees under the law.
Both federal and state employment laws provide rules regarding the various rights that employees can obtain after an employer legally hires them for a job. An employee’s rights usually start to become enforceable as soon as they begin working or possibly even immediately after they sign their employment contract.
It is important to note, however, that once an employee is terminated from their position, then their employment rights will be terminated as well because the employer-employee relationship has ended.
What are Some Examples of Employee Job Rights?
Some common examples of the types of job rights that employees may acquire when hired can include:
- The right to take off work for family and/or medical leave;
- The right to be free from employment discrimination with respect to interviews, job offers, terminations, payments, promotions, and employee training sessions;
- Various rights regarding employee privacy (e.g., listening to employee phone records, checking their emails, recording them on camera at work);
- Rights involving employment agreements or contract disputes; and
- The right to a reasonable amount of pregnancy leave (note that some of these rights are covered under family leave privileges, but it can also refer to rights found in the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”).
In addition, disputes about job rights can arise when an employer has violated a worker’s rights. These kinds of disputes are typically resolved through the intervention of a government agency, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) or a state employment agency.
Also, it is important to keep in mind that in very serious cases, an employee may need to file an action with a local court in order to have their issue resolved.
How Can Job Rights Be Violated?
Most employment disputes regarding a worker’s job rights involve an employer’s failure to comply with state or federal employment standards. Additionally, job rights of an employee may also be violated in the following ways:
- Other co-workers or supervisors may violate an employee’s job rights (e.g., if a co-worker sexually harasses the employee);
- State actors or state agencies can potentially violate a worker’s job rights; and/or
- Separate parties who may be linked to an employee via an employment contract or other type of legal agreement.
One common violation of job rights occurs when an employer has wrongfully terminated an employment arrangement in such a way that it breaches the terms of a worker’s employment contract. In these scenarios, the violation committed may stem from the fact that an employee has a right to be informed of a termination and also to be terminated in accordance with the company’s policies.
Another type of violation that frequently arises is when an employer pays a worker less than the amount of wages that they are entitled. In some cases, this may be considered to be a violation of an employee’s right to minimum wages. If this occurs, then the employee will be able to bring what is known as a wage and hour lawsuit.
What If I Have a Dispute Over My Job Rights?
A dispute over job rights can be a stressful matter to experience. The reason for this is because job disputes have the ability to affect a person’s income, and therefore, they can impact their overall livelihood as well.
Thus, if an employee is involved in a dispute over their job rights, then they should consider reviewing the following steps:
- First, they should determine what type of claim they have (e.g., wage and hour claim, pregnancy discrimination claim, etc.).
- Next, they should figure out what type of resolution they want or what kinds of damages they are seeking (e.g., do they want compensation or to be reinstated to their position?).
- After they have completed the first two steps, they should start gathering evidence and information. They should also document everything that occurs starting with the first incident.
- Before contacting a lawyer, the employee should first try talking to their supervisor or someone in their human resources department. By reporting the issue directly, an employer may have a simple solution to fix the issue.
- If their employer is unable or unwilling to resolve the issue, then the employee must decide whether they want to take the next steps, namely, filing with either their state’s EEOC or the federal agency. The agency that the employee files with will depend on the situation.
- If the state or federal EEOC’s investigation does not sufficiently resolve the worker’s issue, then they will have to decide whether they want to proceed with a lawsuit against their employer. Filing a lawsuit is a major decision and should not be taken lightly, however, it may be the only way to achieve a resolution.
- Lastly, at this point, the employee should contact an employment lawyer for further legal advice. A lawyer will be able to discuss which employment laws they need to base the lawsuit on and in which courthouse to file their claim.
Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer for Help with My Job Rights Dispute?
Most disputes regarding violations of an employee’s job rights often involve interpreting complex laws and complying with technical legal procedures. Therefore, if you need help filing a claim to protect your job rights, then you may want to contact a local workplace attorney for assistance.
An experienced employment attorney will be able to explain how your particular state’s laws may affect the outcome of your case and can determine whether you have a supportable claim. Additionally, your lawyer can also answer any questions you may have, can help you gather evidence, and can represent you in court if necessary.