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What are Worker's Rights?

Article Details
  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 23 December 2016
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2017
    Conjecture Corporation
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Worker’s rights refer to the protections and liberties granted by law to individuals when they are acting as employees. Governments tend to recognize the importance of formally addressing certain aspects of the relationship between employers and their employees to prevent the latter group from being exploited. This includes issues such as how individuals are paid, how safe their working conditions are, and the reasons that they can be fired or denied promotions.

When a person is hired to work, she generally receives instructions from her employer and acts accordingly. In return, the employer provides her with financial compensation. If governments did not intervene and demand that employers act a certain way, there is a significant risk that some would take advantage of their positions. This is not mere speculation. Sadly, many of the worker’s rights that exist today are the result of terrible treatment that people endured in the past.

There are a wide range of worker’s rights, which can vary from one jurisdiction to another. There are certain regulations, however, that are common in most developed societies. For example, there tends to be a wide range of regulations regarding compensation. These may set minimums with regard to the amount that employees can be paid and can protect individuals from having their wages withheld as a means of disciplinary action.

There are commonly regulations that grant workers rights to safe and hazard-free working conditions. Even when these individuals are employed in dangerous professions, there are likely to be a wide range of protections to prevent exposure to unnecessary risks. In some places, employees’ welfare is also protected by rights that entitle them to certain resting periods.

Worker’s rights also tend to protect individuals from various types of harassment and discrimination, which is adverse treatment based on factors such as race, religion, or sex. These regulations give people the right to be employed despite these factors. Employers are also prevented from firing individuals or deciding what their duties or wages will be based on factors such as skin color, country of origin, or sexual preference.

Worker's rights are not static like a country’s bill of rights. There is room for growth and modification. New regulations are still constantly being developed to address changes in the workplace and increase the protection of workers. For example, the popularity of the Internet has prompted many governments to address an employee's electronic privacy rights.

There are many instances when worker’s rights are violated. Such violations can be handled in a variety of ways. In some instances, there are specific government agencies that have the responsibility of dealing with complaints submitted by employees. Other instances allow for civil lawsuits that can supply a person with a substantial amount in damages if her case is proved. There are also some instances when worker’s rights violations can result in criminal prosecution and punishment.

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