In the workplace, there’s no mistaking that the employer has a degree of power of the employee. That position of authority can give the wrong people the impression they can do anything. However, you shouldn’t take it. Nor are you obliged to. This guide is not only going to look at your rights and behaviour that infringes on them. It will also help you address needs that you might believe your employer is not fulfilling for you. It’s up to every person to protect their own rights and needs.
1. Your Right to Fair Pay
The most important factor is your right to get paid fairly for your work. Most workers are entitled to the minimum wage. There are some exceptions, of course, such as those under 16, voluntary workers and the like. However, if you’re applicable and you’re not getting your minimum wage, you have a right to act. Similarly, your employer is expected to pay you in a timely manner. This manner is what’s agreed upon in your contract. If they fail to do so, you are again having your rights infringed on. Make sure that your employer has presented you with the details of your pay. When you get it, what it is and how it’s calculated.
2. Equal Pay and Opportunity
Fair pay isn’t just about getting an agreement on what you’re supposed to get. It should also take into account what your boss is paying others who share your job. It’s a well-known concern that women are paid less than men. Sometimes, this is a result of workplace culture providing better opportunity for men. In other cases, however, it is textbook discrimination. In those cases, you should document your grievances because they have legal repercussions to them.
3. Your Right to Health and Safety
It’s not all about money either. Regardless of whether you work in an office or a construction site, you have a right to health and safety. Workplace accidents will sometimes happen despite your employer’s’ best efforts. However, if that effort to keep you safe isn’t there, then you should not be left to pay for your own treatments and potential loss of work. Instead, it’s worth considering the advice of a service like Nationwide injury lawyers. If you are injured at work, you should try to document as much of the incident as you can. A successful claim rests on the strength of the evidence provided.
We mentioned discrimination against women, particularly in terms of equal pay. But that’s not the only way that discrimination can manifest in the workplace. There are many different forms of discrimination. Sometimes, it can be that an employee is turned down from a position because of personal factors. Or are unfairly dismissed. It can take the more obvious forms of discriminatory language as well. Factors that can discriminated against include gender, race, religion and even political alignment. You have to be watchful to keep an eye out for discrimination in the workplace.
Harassment can be tied to discrimination in the workplace, but it is not always the case. Similarly, to discrimination, it can take forms that are subtler than expected, at first. Cases like verbal bullying and sexual touching are easy to identify. But creating a pervasively hostile work environment towards a colleague can be more difficult. When dealing with harassment, it’s best to collect as much evidence as possible. To log separate incidents that come together to show the kind of hostility involved. Everyone has a right to be free of a hostile workplace. Though some are afraid of retaliation from their employer, they have legal protection from that, too.
6. Working with Disability
When it comes to employees with disability, there is more involved than being a potential target for discrimination. An employer also needs to make reasonable adjustments to remove barriers from the employee’s ability to work. If you are able to show that you have a disability, have requested reasonable adjustments and your employer does nothing, you can act. The Employment Tribunal could end up ordering your employer to pay you compensation. Then ensure that your employer makes the adjustments to the workplace that are considered reasonable.
7. Your Right to Earn
Many employees will seek extra avenues of income besides their job. They may seek a second job or to start their own business on the side. However, there are employers who will not be happy with that. Many may ask you to stop moonlighting. The key is to make sure that their request isn’t part of your contract. Unless you agree to it, an employer has no right to demand your ability to earn outside of your employment with them. If you want to seek outside employment, make sure your contract doesn’t include non-compete clauses. Otherwise, your employer is legally obliged to stop you.
8. Your Career Development
Looking less at rights and more at needs, now, we will focus on what makes a workplace a better environment for you. What you should reasonably expect. If your employer isn’t helping you develop your career, for example, it may be time to move on. Gathering experience is important. However, being stuck doing a job that offers little more than it did in your first week is not going to help you build your career. Talk to your employer about professional development opportunities they can help you with. If they offer none, you may have to look elsewhere.
9. Motivation is Crucial
A good employer wants happy employees. Happy employees are more productive, more engaged and generally more helpful. However, sometimes an employer may be more exploitative than that. Other times, they simply might not have thought about it. If you’re feeling unmotivated or disengaged, it can be a good idea to bring it up with your employer. Ask them to foster better communication and offer rewards for good work. An employer who doesn’t value the happiness and motivation of the staff is an employer not worth working for.
Another aspect of work happiness and motivation is a much more physical provision. Besides looking for fair and equal pay, you should look for employers that provide more benefits to their employees. A good benefits package provides preparations for events like old age. It also provides for unexpected troubles like becoming ill or injured. Sick pay, annual leave and flexible working situations are considered some of the more essential benefits. Others include things like retirement and income protection to help provide for you when you’re unable to work. The more conscientious employers might even offer health screening. If you have high-level skills, you should expect high-level benefits.
11. Fair Expectations
Sometimes, your employer may be unhappy with your rate of work or the level of results they get. Their concerns may be valid, but it’s important to be able to identify when you believe you are subject to unfair expectations. These expectations can be a sign of negative bias or evidence of straight up harassment in work. Some may simply be testing your ability to cope. Either way, you should consult your colleagues to see the expectations on their own workload. Ensure that your boss knows what you’re working on by keeping a list of your tasks. Develop performance indicators with them so you can both provide measures of what is expected and what you’re providing.
12. Your Right to Work-Life Balance
Sometimes these expectations can go well beyond asking you to do more than you feel capable of. Sometimes they can push out into your personal life. It can be important and a good sign of dedication to spend personal hours helping the business from time to time. However, you need to have a limit. Don’t less your employers take advantage of you, especially if you fear reprisal. You have a right to a personal work-life balance.
13. Addressing Things Internally
If you have a problem at work, one of the first steps will be to sort it internally. But who do you go to? Your HR department might be more concerned with the liability of the business than your well-being. Similarly, if your boss is part of the problem, it can be difficult to take it to them instead. However, you should always start with internal resolution. Not just because it might sort the problem out before other steps are needed. If you find that you do need legal steps, you are then able to take records of those meetings as evidence. That puts you on the high ground and shows a workplace that is providing unfair conditions.
We hope this guide has helped you better understand what you are entitled to. Not just your legal entitlements, but what you should reasonably expect from a good workplace. There are a lot of good, just employers out there. There are also plenty of exploitative ones, however. You have to be prepared to protect your own rights and needs. You should also be out to protect those of your fellow employees. Even if a system isn’t being unfair to you, it is a symptom of a system that can easily turn against you in future.