4 Facts You Should Know About Workers’ Rights

Your boss gets to control most of the rules in your workplace; however, federal law does guarantee workers certain rights. These are four of the workers’ rights you should be familiar with.

1. Workers’ Compensation

Iowa workers compensation law protects employees who are injured on the job or get sick as a result of the work that they do. These laws require employers to purchase workers’ compensation insurance to cover medical bills and other expenses incurred by employees who are injured or sickened on the job. Workers’ compensation also covers lost wages and provides benefits to the dependents of workers killed due to job-related hazards.

2. Discrimination and Harassment

Federal laws protect employees and job applicants from being discriminated against, harassed or treated unfairly due to their race, religion, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, transgender status, national origin, pregnancy, disability, age or genetic information. Workers also can not be retaliated against because they aided an investigation or lawsuit or filed a job discrimination complaint. Additionally, employers may not deny reasonable accommodations for religious beliefs or disabilities. These laws are enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

3. Family and Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act allows employees to take extended time off work in certain circumstances. Employees who are caring for a qualified sick family member, have recently adopted or birthed a child, are ill for an extended period or providing caregiving services due to a family member’s military service may be eligible for protection under this act. The act guarantees unpaid leave to employees at all companies with 50 or more employees.

4. Minimum Wage

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division department is responsible for enforcing the labor laws that govern the minimum wage. The federal minimum wage is the least amount an employer can pay per hour to most employees. In many states, employees who receive tips may receive a different minimum wage and there are also exceptions for some other types of workers. Cities and states may set a higher minimum wage for their locale, but non-exempt employees may not be paid less than the federal minimum wage, regardless of local laws.

There are many federal, local and state laws that govern the rights afforded to workers in the United States. It is important to familiarize yourself with the labor laws, including these four, that apply in the locations where you live and work. An employment lawyer can assist you if you believe you have experienced a workplace violation.