The world of work can be richly rewarding but it can also be dour and forbidding. We’re raised from a young age to believe that in our careers we will find satisfaction, challenge, fulfilment and monetary reward but the reality sometimes doesn’t jive with this dictum, especially in this day and age. We live in an era of corporate wage repression where corporations keep the salaries of hard workers down for the sake of their profit margins. In many ways, the Trump administration has been particularly harmful to workers rights. Speaking of which, you’d be astonished to learn just how many rights you may think you have but don’t. For instance, you have no federal entitlement to a lunch break (or even a bathroom break). Your employer can fire you for just about any reason they choose (in most states) and strictly speaking you have no protection from bullying under federal law.
In this climate, there’s a lot of inequity that today’s workers must tolerate in the pursuit of happiness. But fortunately, there are some things which we are legally protected from. There are somethings an employer has absolutely no right to make us tolerate. This includes…
An unsafe workplace
You have the right to go about your day and perform your daily duties without fear of personal harm or injury. It is your employer’s legal responsibility to ensure that you have a safe working environment. This extends to everything from ensuring that you’re able to achieve the correct distance between your chair and your screen to help prevent neck pain or eye strain to ensuring that you’re given adequate protection when handling hazardous substances like chemicals. Even newly mopped floors and trip hazards like worn carpet must be clearly marked. If you feel at all unsafe at work, talk to your boss. They’d much likely rather talk to you than your Personal Injury Lawyer. No job is worth suffering in silence for if you injure yourself at work!
It can be a source of extreme stress and anxiety if our job places us in a situation for which we are unprepared. While challenge is absolutely fine and should be challenged, being sent into a situation that could be potentially hazardous without adequate training should not be tolerated. If you handle heavy objects as part of your job you deserve to be trained in proper lifting technique. If you use machinery that could be harmful it is your right to be properly trained in its use.
Many may be shocked to learn that while their workplace handbooks have established policies on workplace bullying, there is no federal law against it. Perhaps this is because bullying is such a nebulous terms encompassing many forms of physical, verbal, emotional and psychological abuse. You do, however, have legal protection from any form of discrimination or prejudice based on your gender, age, race, religion or sexuality. If your professional life is being made a misery by bigotry you have a legal right to pursue justice without any adverse effects on your career.
The world of work is tough enough. In an increasingly difficult era, workers need to know when to tow the line!