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Common employee rights you should know

Many years ago, employees didn't have any rights. The employers could do whatever they wanted, and the workers either had to deal with it to earn a paycheck or they could leave. Now, New York workers have particular rights that they can count on to keep them safe in the workplace.

It is imperative that you know these rights so that you can react if an employer violates them. There are many different categories that you need to be aware of. For the most part, these rights begin during the hiring process and continue on through the end of a person's job with a company.

Discrimination, harassment and retaliation

No employee or potential employee should face discrimination, harassment or retaliation. These are all forbidden by law, but some employers try to skirt around them. There are specific reasons for these actions that are protected, which means they aren't ever allowed. These include gender, race, age for those over 40 years old, religious beliefs, sexual orientation and disability status.

People who file complaints against their employer might think they will become a target at work. Employers can't retaliate against employees who do this as long as the complaints are factual. Retaliation can come in many forms, including demotions, termination, pay cuts and similar adverse employment actions.

Safe workplace

You have the right to a safe workplace. This includes proper training and safety equipment. Employers must forbid acts that result in a hostile environment. They should also have a clear plan for addressing things that might come up, such as workplace violence.

Pay, compensation and leave

You have the right to be paid at least minimum wage, and your employer must pay you for all hours you work. Even restaurant workers and domestic workers have these rights. For people who work for tips, there are specific things that your employee can't do, such as take your tips.

Qualified employees have rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act. This provides for unpaid leave for workers who have serious medical conditions, are caring for an immediate family member with a health crisis, or who have certain family-related events like the birth or adoption of a child.

Employers should display policies related to these areas. They might also include them in the employee handbook. If you feel as though your employer violates your rights, you have legal recourse to consider. This might help you to receive compensation for the financial damages you are forced to cope with.

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The Law Offices of Jeffrey E. Goldman
260 Madison Ave.
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New York, NY 10016

Phone: 212-983-8999
Fax: 646-693-2289
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