Knowing your legal rights in the workplace can help you protect your best interests as an employee. You’ll also have a better understanding of how to take legal action if your rights are ever violated. It is essential that employees are aware of their rights and how to protect them in order to maintain a healthy and beneficial work life. Here are some of the most basic workplace rights that you should know.

Taking Breaks

You may live in a state where your employer is mandated by law to allow you to take a certain number of breaks each day and for the full amount of time. This usually includes a meal break and one or more shorter breaks, depending on how many hours you work. According to, most states allow 10-minute breaks with pay for every four hours worked. It’s best to check with your specific state’s laws to know how many breaks you should be taking, and confront your manager should your rights be violated in this area.

Discussing Pay with Other Employees

If you care to discuss your salary with other employees, your boss should not forbid this. Most states even have laws that make it illegal for employers to take retaliatory actions against staff members who discuss their salaries. Generally, the only exception to this right would be if you worked in a position in a municipal branch of government or at a religious school that might require you by law to keep salary information confidential. The right to discuss wages is part of how employees can be sure they are being paid fairly compared to others in the same or similar positions and aid in pay negotiations where necessary.

Workplace Safety

Your employer should be doing everything possible to maintain a safe work environment for everyone. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established a set of safety regulations that companies are expected to follow. If you get hurt on the job because of workplace safety violations, you can seek help from workers comp attorney services to try to get monetary compensation to cover your injuries. While it is best to speak with your employer directly for worker’s compensation, a lawyer may sometimes be necessary when your employer fails to comply with your compensation rights.

Non-hostile Work Environment

No one is required by law to work in an environment where hostility and harassment are the norm. The law protects you from any verbal, physical, sexual or online harassment, and any violations that are committed by your boss or other employees could be grounds for a lawsuit. This is especially true if the harassment has occurred over a prolonged period of time and you have documentation to prove your case. It is further forbidden for anyone to make your job more difficult by retaliating against you for any reason.
You’ll be able to face work and any challenges that might come your way with greater confidence by learning about your rights. Too many employees allow their employers to ignore their responsibilities, and it is important to hold those employers accountable. Know your rights and reach out for legal aid when necessary to enforce them.

Author's Bio: 

Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure.