Have you ever wondered what your basic or general rights as a worker are? Sometimes you may be afraid of what to do, what to ask for, or what you think you deserve at work. The simple meaning of a right is something that is morally good, justified, or acceptable. I am giving this definition just so that you have a background of what this article is all about. 

There are certain rights of workers stated in labour legislations and human rights code depending on your location. In this article, I would be stating several of these protected rights under the law and some other “rights” that are morally good, justified, or acceptable: even though not in plain text in legislations.

The whole aim is to help you figure out what you may be scared of confronting at work. If you feel that any of these rights apply to your situation, then you should pick up the labour legislations and human rights provisions that apply to you and learn more about how to solve your challenge.

Like I explained here, Zinny Factor cuts across various type of jobs or industries so in today’s post, irrespective of your location, I would be listing basic rights of workers (including what you thought wasn’t your right!)

However, before I go any further, depending on your  location, you may want to check out legislations that apply to you.

Photo Source: Life of Pix

Photo Source: Life of Pix

1. The right to compensation for work done

This goes without saying. Of course, you want to be paid for the job that you perform at work. However, you need to consider the type of employment you fall under. Are you a full-time, part-time, fixed-term, casual, temporary, or contract worker? Are you an intern, apprentice, seasonal, agency, co-opt, or voluntary worker? Are you an independent contractor? These factors may affect your compensation.

2. The right to refuse unsafe work

You have the right to good health and a safe environment at work. Your health is important otherwise, you wouldn’t have a job to go to afterward. Again, your health is important: mental and physical.

3. The right to be informed about potential dangers in the workplace

As earlier stated, you have the right to refuse unsafe work so you should be aware of potential dangers in the workplace so that you can refuse the job, or better still protect yourself while at it. Some workers may not be allowed to refuse unsafe work for several reasons. For example, health care workers, police, soldiers, firefighters, etc. If you don’t fall under this category then read your letter of employment again, the necessary legislations, and this article.

4. The right to take a vacation

You have the right to take some time off work and just rest. Again, this is because you need to be safe and fit to carry out your duties. Please read your contract, legislations that apply to you, and if you need clarifications speak to your HR personnel or you could send me an email. I’ll be happy to help.

5. The right to a workplace free of discrimination

Workplace discrimination is any form of negative treatment based on race or color, religion or creed, gender, age, or disability. Please check your human rights legislations depending on where you are located; it could be extended to marital status, family status, national or ethnic origin, or a conviction for which a pardon has been granted or a record suspended.

You have the right to refuse such treatment and carry out actions like we discussed in this post here. Also, refer to your company policy or handbook and note the terms stated in it. Compare it to your present circumstances if you are of the opinion that you are being discriminated against.

6. The right to a workplace free from sexual harassment and violence

Sexual harassment, in this case, refers to any unwanted sexual advances or vexatious comments that are demeaning and humiliating to a person. Note that such harassment should relate to unwanted sexual behavior that occurs in a work-related environment or setting.

Workplace violence involves any act in which a worker is abused, threatened, intimidated, or assaulted. It includes threatening behavior such as shaking fists, destroying property, or throwing objects. It could also be verbal or written threats of the intention to inflict harm.

In any case, you need to properly document the facts of the case and read this post click here.

7. The right to ask for a raise

You have the right to ask for a raise in your salary or wage once it’s justifiable. You may choose to do this most likely at a performance review. It’s understandable that this may seem uncomfortable for you, but if you are constantly complaining about your salary or wage, then it’s about time. You need to solve the issue and you can at least make an attempt. It’s not unacceptable to make a request. Try to use PayScale to compare salary differences in your industry or try other salary survey websites.

8. The right to ask for a promotion

I decided to call this a right because it’s something that you can decide to work towards. Many people are not aware that they have a right to be promoted. In some cases, you may not need to sit back and wait for a miracle. You may need to stand up and work towards getting what you so desire.

I put this in here because very recently a friend told me of how she had to work towards reaching her goal: a promotion. It was the next “big thing” for her so she decided to volunteer at the department she wanted to get promoted into. She worked her way into doing hundred percent of her own job and about forty percent of the other department but she enjoyed it because that was her target.

The good news is that she just got promoted to this new department; it was simply because she worked towards it and told her managers of her intention. They had seen her performance and were impressed. Everyone has a right to aim for career success, and if a promotion is what you need and want, then go for it!

9. The right to ask for a transfer to another department

As explained in the previous point, you can simply ask to be transferred to another department. However, I advise that you try to volunteer in the department you wish to transfer to. It makes things seamless and you would get the opportunity to discover firsthand if that is really what you want to do long term. It also makes you a huge asset to your employer.

10. The right to reasonable accommodation

Reasonable accommodation relates to changes in a position or job that will enable an individual to perform his/ her job requirements despite having a disability. An employer should be able to reasonably accommodate such worker except it will lead to undue hardship.

11. The right to protection from employer retaliation

Retaliation refers to adverse actions taken against an employee for filing a complaint or supporting another employee’s complaint under a variety of laws. Your employer shouldn’t punish you for exercising your legal rights as a worker.

12. The right to maternity, paternity, or parental leave

Maternity and paternity leave is for biological parents, while parental leave refers to both biological or adoptive. You need time to take care of your baby and bond. You have the right to stay away and care for your child. Again, check the relevant laws to know the length of time granted.

13. The right to a workplace free from workplace bullying

As a worker, you have the right to a workplace free from any form of bullying. There is an article on this topic. Click here to read it, it’s really interesting. Workplace bullying involves a pattern of mistreatment of a worker. It could be verbal, non-verbal, psychological, or physical abuse. In most cases, bullying is reported to be from a person in higher authority. If you are a victim of workplace bullying, you don’t deserve it. Again, proper documentation may be needed to prove this.

Disclaimer: Please note that some of these rights may be subject to your contract of employment. Also, please refer to labour legislations and human rights provisions that apply to you.

What do you think? How do you exercise your basic rights in your workplace?

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