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Safeguarding Your Rights In The Workplace

Terrence Bouvier Robinson

Are you employed? If so, you have rights

Your rights as an employee go beyond getting a paycheck every two weeks. In fact, your Houston employer might have many obligations to you that you are unaware of. For example, if you work for an accounting firm, your employer cannot force you to work off the clock in order to keep the firm's effective billing rate as high as possible even if other employees agree to perform non-paid work.

While some employment laws vary from state to state, there are federal laws that apply to most, if not all, employers. The following overview of federal employment laws can help you understand more about your rights as an employee.

Title VII

Title VII applies to employers who have at least 15 employees. Specifically, it makes it illegal for an employer with 15 or more employees to discriminate against job applicants on the basis of race, religion, national origin or gender.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

This Act prohibits an employer from discriminating against a job applicant or employee based on a qualifying disability. The ADA defines a qualifying disability as a mental or physical condition that limits an individual's ability to fully perform one or more of life's daily activities.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act

If you are over the age of 40 and your employer has at least 20 employees, another protection you have as an employee is freedom from age discrimination. This Act is in place to keep employers from pushing out older workers in favor of younger workers who might be willing to work for much less money.

Fair Labor Standards Act

The Fair Labor Standards Act restricts the length of the standard workday and requires that your employer provide you with breaks. In addition, this Act regulates overtime and salary requirements.

Family and Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act provides protections for employees who have a medical emergency. Your boss must allow you to take up to 12 weeks off from work to handle a qualified medical situation. In order to qualify for this, you must have worked for the company for 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the date that you request your leave to begin. In addition, your employer must hold your position for you while you are on leave.

The above federal laws might apply to you as an employee. If you think that your employer is violating your employee rights and you are suffering as a result, you might be able to take legal action.

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