Nobody is exempt from the law, not even your employer. The NLRA and a number of statutes implemented by the American EEOC shield workers from hostile work environments, unjust labor practices, and discrimination. Employers are also expected to abide by state and local laws.
Even though the majority of employers do not intentionally break the law, they might unknowingly do so if they are not adequately informed about their responsibilities. Keep reading to find out more about employee rights at work and what to do if you believe your employer has broken the law or if you have ever pondered whether your boss can legally do a particular action. Visit Employee Survival Guide for more info.
Things your employer is prohibited from doing by law
- Ask forbidden questions on job applications.
Some employers may violate the law even before hiring you as an employee. Twelve specific kinds of discrimination are made illegal under the EEOC enforcement. The majority of the time, employers are prohibited from asking these questions when hiring a potential employee. This means that, among other things, a job application cannot ask about your age, marital status, religion, or intentions to become pregnant.
- Fire someone after their personnel file is “papered.”
Papering refers to an employer filing numerous complaints out of nowhere against an employee immediately prior to firing them. Additionally, if an employee alleges they were fired illegally, a recent surge in complaints may reflect unfavorably on the employer, especially if the employer had not been regularly recording the employee’s activities up until that point.
- Offer an unpaid intern a job.
Employers may try to lure interns in with the prospect of a paid position after the internship. Nevertheless, doing so can put an employer in violation of state and federal minimum wage regulations. An unpaid, illegal training period could be perceived as an internship rather than a learning opportunity for the student.
- Not pay you the minimum wage or overtime.
Paying employees is a challenging task. The guidelines for overtime are still simple. Employers must give non-exempt workers overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act if they put in more than 40 hours in a workweek. Some laws are more stringent in some states. For workers who put in more than eight hours a day, overtime pay is mandated in Alaska, California, and Nevada.
Hourly compensation must, however, match minimum wage requirements. Even though the federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour, there are higher requirements in many states and even some cities. Employers are also unable to avoid paying the minimum wage by using commissions or tips.