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What Are Basic Worker Rights?

Basic Employee Rights

Career seekers and employees have various state and federal laws protecting them in the workplace. Basic worker rights are available to everyone in the U.S. These basic workplace rights are usually provided through employment and labor law. Basic job rights are also obtained through the right to form unions.

Beyond unions is what’s called “At Will” employment doctrine. Most of the U.S. is employment “At Will”, which means an employee can be terminated for any reason, good reason or no reason. This only applies if the reason is not due to some violation of discrimination laws protecting employees and job applicants.

American basic labor rights requires employers to provide healthy, safe and fair conditions on the job. However, employers possibly yours routinely violated the basic employment rights of job seekers and employees. Employees have a right to fair compensation, freedom from discrimination and privacy. Career seekers have particular rights before getting hired. The basic work rights of both job applicants and employees include being free from discrimination based on age, gender, race, national origin, or religion before during and after getting a job.

Your basic employee rights include;

  • freedom from discrimination
  • freedom from a hazardous or dangerous workplace
  • right to have fair compensation
  • freedom from retaliation for filing a complaint against your boss

Here is a list involving some of the main federal laws protecting job seekers and employees;

Age Discrimination in Employment Act

This Act makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against employees 40 years and older. It applies to employers with 20 or more employees. Ironically, employers can give favor senior employees over younger ones.

Family and Medical Leave Act

Under FMLA Employers are required to let employees take up to 12-weeks of unpaid leave for qualified medical reasons. The employee must have worked 1,250 hours and 12 months before the leave request.


Protects job seekers and employees from discrimination because of a qualifying disability. A disability is defined as a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. If the individual with the qualifying disability can perform the essential job functions with or without a reasonable accommodation it’s illegal for the employer to discriminate because of the disability.

Title VII of the Civil Rights ACT of 1964

This Act applies to employer having 15 or more employees.
It’s illegal for employers to discriminate in the hiring process based on race, age, religion, sex, or national origin.

Fair Labor Standards Act

According to the (DOL) U.S. department of Labor, The FLSA establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping, and youth employment standards affecting employees in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments. Covered nonexempt workers are entitled to a minimum wage of not less than $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. Overtime pay at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay is required after 40 hours of work in a workweek.

There’s a lot more to learn about employee rights in the workplace.

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