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What are my basic employee rights?

Every Los Angeles employee has basic employment rights at his or her job. Those rights include the right to a discrimination-free workplace, fair compensation and more. Unfortunately, it isn't uncommon for employees to suffer a rights violation, so it's important for them to recognize a violation when it occurs.

Even prospective employees have specific rights before a company hires them. These pre-employment rights include having the freedom from age, gender, national origin, religious and race-based discrimination while being hired. Also, employers cannot perform a credit background check on a potential employee without first gaining permission.

Another important right that all employees have is the right to privacy. This includes privacy related to one's personal possessions. Employers may not search your bag, briefcase, purse, private email or locker if you are the only one with access to it. In many cases, employees also have the right to privacy when it comes to their voicemail messages and personal telephone calls. That said, if the employee is using his or her employer's email and phone system, then the right to privacy isn't guaranteed.

Here are some more rights that employees enjoy in California:

-- The right to freedom from harassment of all kinds.

-- The right to a safe workplace without dangerous or toxic conditions.

-- The right to freedom from being retaliated against after lodging a complaint or claim against an employer.

-- The right to fair pay for work completed.

Do you suspect your rights have been violated at a California workplace? An investigation into your situation may be warranted. If you've suffered damages as a result of an employee rights violation, you might be able to seek financial compensation in court.

Source: FindLaw, "Employee rights 101," accessed Feb. 16, 2017

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