Employment rights refer to the basic rights that all employees have in the workplace. In fact, job applicants and former employees may also have employment rights depending on the circumstances and the issue.

What are the Rights of Applicants?

Even a job applicant is granted certain rights from the employer. For example, job applicants have the right to be free from discrimination based on categories such as race, age, gender or national origin. Moreover, an employer may not check the credit of a prospective employee. That is, unless the employer notifies the prospective employees and receives permission to do so.  An employer also cannot ask certain family-related questions during the hiring process.

What are the Rights of Employees?

Once hired, there are certain basic rights that all employees have in the workplace. For example, all employees have the right to privacy. The right to privacy applies to an employee’s personal possessions. Personal possessions may include handbags, wallets, briefcases, personal storage lockers and private mail. However, employees will probably not have a right to privacy in the company’s computer. These are some of the other major rights that employees have:

  • The right to fair wages and compensation for work performed.
  • The right to be free from any type of discrimination or harassment.
  • The right to a workplace that is safe and free from dangerous conditions, toxic substances or any other potential hazards.
  • The right to be free from retaliation for filing a claim or complaint against a particular employer.

What are the Federal Laws on Employee Rights?

There are many federal laws which deal with employee rights in the workplace. Here are two major examples:

  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act:  This law prevents employers from favoring younger workers at the expense of older workers. It applies to workers who are 40 years of age and older and to workplaces that have 20 or more employees. However, this law does not prevent employers from favoring older employees over younger employees.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): The ADA prohibits discrimination against an individual who has a qualified disability. According to the ADA, a disability is any physical or mental impairment that significantly limits one or more life activities.

Should I Contact a Lawyer?

Employees have many rights that are protected by state and federal laws. If you feel that your employer violated your rights, it may be a good idea to talk to an experienced employment lawyer.