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What are your major rights as an employee?

Employees often make the mistake of thinking that the boss is in charge of everything, as if they have no rights at all. While the typical corporate model does mean the boss is in charge, of course, that doesn't strip employees of basic rights or mean that the boss can take advantage of them just because of his or her position of power. For example, employees have these rights:

1. The right not to be discriminated against on any grounds, including race, age and gender.

2. The right not to be harassed in the workplace on these same grounds or to be forced to work in a hostile environment.

3. The right to have a workplace that is safe and doesn't contain inherent hazardous conditions. This doesn't mean there aren't risks on the job, but employers must make the workplace as safe as they can.

4. The right to know they won't face any sort of retaliation if their rights are violated and they take appropriate action. For instance, if someone is being sexually harassed at work and files a complaint, he or she then can't be fired for filing the complaint.

5. The right to wages that are fair and that fall within local wage and hour guidelines.

Employees also have a right to privacy, but this can be a bit tricky. They may have access to networks or company email accounts, for example, and these may by their very nature not come with complete privacy.

It's important to know all of your rights in California so that you can take the proper action if they're ever violated.

Source: FIndLaw, "Employees Rights 101," accessed Nov. 25, 2015

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