Owning and running a business is hard enough on your own, but when you eventually grow that business enough, it’s going to be far too large to handle on your own.
You’re going to need to hire in help to keep up with demand and the workload, and that’s when you suddenly become a boss as well as a business owner.
Being a boss is no easy task, you’re entrusting portions of your business to relative strangers that you find.
Besides all the headaches associated with making sure that your employees are qualified, are completing tasks in a timely fashion, and managing them, you need to make sure you never forget several basic rights that employees have.
These are extremely important and failure to provide the rights we discuss in today’s article can result in woes that are legally problematic. Remember, your employees are people too and they have rights just like you.
1. A Safe Workplace Environment
Your employees have the right to work in an environment that is as safe as it can possibly be. Employees should not be exposed to dangers that would not be expected of the working environment.
For instance, you can’t expect someone to work in a building that’s falling apart and is a hazard. The workplace should be clean and account for as much hazard inherent to the job as possible.
If you own a factory with lots of heavy and dangerous machinery, the working environment should be made as safe as possible through correct training, maintenance of the equipment, and safety procedures in place to protect your employees.
Also, a great way to get some more information regarding workplace safety can be to contact a personal injury lawyer. They have experience dealing with common complaints from workers and employees and consulting with one should help you cover all your safety bases.
2. No Discrimination or Harassment
This right ties in with the previous right of creating a safe workplace environment. Beyond physical safety, you are not allowed to discriminate nor harass your employees simply because they work for you.
Discrimination is extremely bad and any employee that has grounds to show discrimination against a wide array of factors such as gender, pregnancy, religion, race, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, and immigrant status can pursue legal action against you.
Sexual harassment falls under the previous and should be avoided at all costs. There are many resources available on the web to better understand how to create a safe and welcoming work environment for all peoples.
3. Equal Wages
It should go without saying, but employees should be paid equally based on their experience, skill-set, and workplace environment.
It is extremely important that you are able to justify all salary decisions that you make. Under no circumstance should you ever be paying two workers with similar experience, skill-sets, and workplace environments differently based on circumstances outside of their own control. For instance, you cannot justify paying a woman more than a man if they both have a similar experience, skill-sets, and workplace environments.
Additionally, you are expected your employees right to overtime. Depending on your location, the number of hours varies, but it is typical that if you expect employees to work more than 40 hours a week, you should be paying overtime.
Please keep in mind that this does not apply to salaried workers.
4. Family & Medical Leave
Depending on your location, labor laws require that you provide your employees with a reasonable amount of medical leave in case of an emergency.
Additionally, you should also provide the opportunity to take family leave for anyone that may be having a baby, adopting a child, taking care of an extremely ill family member.
Beyond just providing leave to the employee, their jobs should also be secure during their absence. You can’t allow an employee to leave work for a while for an emergency and then fire them after they’ve left.
5. No Retaliation
Your employees should be free from retaliation regarding actions they may take to try and improve their working conditions.
For instance, it’s absolutely against the law to fire an employee that joins a union.
Another common protection right employers are expected to provide are ‘whistleblower’ rights. You cannot lash out against an employee simply for filing a claim against you if they feel you’ve violated one of their rights. Ultimately, you should respect your employee’s rights to keep yourself and your employees happy. We recommend keeping the mindset that you should treat your employees how you would want your boss to treat you.
Treat employees with respect and dignity, and you should have no legal issues.
Remember, that a happy employee is a productive employee and it is in the best interest of your bottom line to keep everyone happy and working! Provide employees with a safe and stable working environment, and your business is sure to grow in that environment as well.