Labor and Equality: Promoting the Rights of Your Employees

Employees are the backbone of every industry. A business would not thrive, even jumpstart, if no one were doing the actual work behind the scene.

Just as workers need jobs to sustain their everyday needs, organizations need workers to survive as well. While most workers were left at the mercy of their employers several decades ago, the state and federal governments have put up measures to protect the rights and privileges of employees.

As of 2021, there are over 180 worker protection laws enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor. These laws range from minimum wage requirements to leave benefits.

An organization abiding by these standards set by the government, promoting the human rights of workers, tends to have more satisfied employees. In most cases, even exceeding expectations and producing quality work for the benefit of the company.

If you ever wondered whether your business is adhering to the basic standards and policies in promoting the rights of the human resource, outlined are effective ways to strengthen the rights of your employees.

1. Minimum Wage and Other Benefits

One of the fundamental rights of employees in today’s world is the assurance to receive at least a minimum wage as compensation for work, which the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) ensures.

Since 2009, most employers, both in the public and private sector, have been paying employees at a rate of $7.25 an hour. But with the ever-increasing cost of living, many legislators have been pushing towards increasing the minimum wage of workers.

Aside from basic salary, additional monetary and non-monetary compensation are provided by most organizations. The compensation and benefits include bonuses, paid leaves, and other free services.

Most importantly, most employees these days are safeguarded against arbitrary layoff and firing.

2. Health Coverage Program

a person and a doctor holding a piggybank

We all try our best not to get sick, especially workers. However, having a medical condition is unavoidable. You may have to call off work for a couple of days, have yourself checked by a physician, have to pay medical consultation and prescription fees, and have to buy medicine.

All of this means spending money while not earning anything.

Luckily though, in 2010, the Affordable Care Act was passed mandating medium-sized to large-sized organizations to share medical payments for hospitalized employees. The same law mandates companies employing fifty or more employees to provide primary and reasonable health insurance.

Nevertheless, to avail of these benefits, the employee has to meet certain conditions, such as being a full-time employee. This means an employee has rendered at least 30 hours of work per week.

3. Employment-based Discrimination

Discrimination in a workplace setting covers those inequalities of the working condition among employees due to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, and gender by either their co-worker or employer.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the first law passed to repair social inequality and promote social justice in America. By 2009, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was passed, reinforcing the rights of women and minorities against wage discrimination.

In the case of Bostock vs. Clayton County, Georgia, the Supreme Court upheld the rights of LGBTQ workers against workplace discrimination based on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

Other important federal laws protecting workers’ rights are the Disabilities Act of 1900 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.

4. Safe Work Environment

Working in a safe environment ensures productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness of the employees. With fewer stressors in mind and at sight, workers can focus more on the company’s betterment.

Considering such, employers have to ensure that workers are provided with a safe and comfortable work environment. This can be done in many ways, including providing ergonomic office chairs and desks, ensuring proper ventilation and lighting, and observing practical operating systems.

A safe work environment is crucial in those industries that majorly involve factory works and hazardous activities.

5. Industry-specific Policies

Every business and organization has to educate itself on the various rules and regulations required by the specific industry they are engaged in. The top management and human resource department must be educated and trained on the fundamental rights of employees in industry-specific regulations.

For instance, there are various laws and regulations employers need to be aware of in the trucking industry.

In Washington State, there are specific standards to be observed, such as piece-rate compensations, rest breaks, and injury-related concerns. Knowing these legal matters protects not only your workers but also your company.

You can always consult with a truck driver lawyer for more information on this matter.

6. Whistleblower Protection

Many employees are disinclined in reporting any illegal, immoral, violent, or unethical actions within the company for fear of retaliation. Fortunately, several federal laws aim to protect whistleblowers who might report their employer and company of violating a statute.

One of these laws is the Clean Air Act. There is a provision under the law assuring protection for employees who report any employer violations under the statute.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, employees are covered by whistleblower protection if they complain about their workplace violating COVID-19 protocols.

As mentioned, there are hundreds of laws passed protecting the rights of workers today. Make sure that your organization is at par with the standards. Doing so ensures you avoid costly and unnecessary litigation in your company and encourages your employees to do their best while working for you.

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