Workers in the United States are the beneficiaries of a long history of struggles by working men and women to secure basic employment rights. Beginning with the rapid industrialization of society, workers fought for safe working conditions, fair pay, the right to unionize, and many other labor rights, which are enshrined in law today. Yet, despite a variety of protections, the fight continues today against employers who either unknowingly or willfully violate employees’ rights on the job. It is critical that employees are aware of their employment rights and what steps to take if they are being disregarded.
Most employees are covered by a variety of federal employment discrimination, health and safety, and unfair labor practice laws. There are some exceptions that may apply, based on the size of the business or government employment. Employees are also protected by state and local municipality laws based on where they are employed.
Violations of employment law still occur, and it is important to understand what laws apply. In some cases, employers can be unaware that an employment practice is prohibited; however, ignorance of the law is not an excuse. In other cases, companies exhibit deliberate disregard for the law. In any case where a worker is experiencing illegal workplace behavior, an employment discrimination lawyer experienced in the intricacies of the law is strongly recommended.
Workers can be discriminated against before they are even hired when employers ask prohibited questions on job applications. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces discrimination laws in all aspects of hiring, employment, and firing. Prohibited application questions include asking one’s age, religion, marital status, or plans to become pregnant. Once hired, employment decisions, including promotions, cannot be based upon protected classes, including race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.
Wage and hour regulations and union activity fall under federal labor laws and employers are required to comply with all relevant regulations. Employers cannot, for example, refuse to pay overtime, require staff to work off the clock, or classify workers as independent contractors to avoid payroll and employment taxes. Employees are also protected from retaliation for engaging in protected union activity under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Employees may not be aware that employers cannot prohibit discussion of salary and benefits. Any employment that requires employees to agree not to discuss and compare pay rates is a violation of the law.
Health and safety laws are another critical area that can be a matter of life and death. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issues and enforces regulations that are designed to ensure workers are not illegally subjected to dangerous or disease-inducing job conditions. In addition, whistleblower laws protect those who report such activity. Workers who have concerns about their treatment on the job should always consult with an employment discrimination lawyer to ensure that their rights are protected.
Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Represent Victims of Workplace Violations
If your employer violated your workplace rights, the Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. will advocate for your rights. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 215-569-1999 today. Located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, northeast Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and South Jersey.