The workforce can be a scary place, especially if you don’t know your rights. If you want to protect them, though, you’re going to have to do a little bit of extra work. Below are a few steps to take in order to ensure that you know and protect your workplace rights.
Read government fair employment laws
The best place to start is with information. Go online and look up the basic employment laws both in the country and in your state. Most workplaces have at least some literature about basic worker protections, so read what’s available. Being armed with the right information can make a world of difference in the future.
Consult with a lawyer
If you feel like you might be looking at a bad situation, finding employment law representation is always a good idea. Though there are costs involved, even getting a quick consult can help you to determine if you’re actually being treated as the law requires. This can involve matters such as pay, sick leave, injury compensation, work hours, and so on.
Keep good rapport with HR
While HR is always on the side of the company, it never hurts to keep talking to them. Keep up to date with what they’re doing, talk to them when you have a problem and don’t try to go around them if you think something needs to change. While this is never guaranteed to actually help you to protect your own rights, it does show that you are still trying to work within the system – something that can really help if you get to a point at which things begin to become adversarial.
Maintain open discourse with fellow employees about pay and benefits
While one of the great taboos in the American workplace tends to be the discussion of what you make, the truth is that every employee benefits from being a little more open about their rate of pay and benefits. If you want to know if you are getting a fair deal, that means talking to others in similar positions about what they’re making and what kind of benefits you’ll get. Not only does this help you to determine if you are being treated in the right way, but it will also give you leverage when it comes time for you to negotiate for a raise or work towards a new position.
It’s always up to you to protect your own rights in the workforce. Learn what you can, keep in contact with the people who can help you, and always leave a paper trail. If you’re willing to put in the work, you’ll have a better chance of ensuring that you are treated properly in the workforce.