Human Rights and Safety in the Workplace

Jobs are hard to come by in this economic climate that many people are so grateful to get a job and sometimes overlook the work conditions. Regardless of what job you do or where you work, everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity, respect and fairness. In addition, employees are entitled to certain rights in the workplace.

What are the Rights of an Employee?

Some of the fundamental rights in the workplace include:

  • Equality
  • Equal compensation
  • Protection against harassment
  • Freedom to join a union
  • A safe work environment

Equality means that everyone must be treated fairly. No one should be discriminated against based on race, ethnicity, religion, or gender.

Also, equality means that all employees must be given equal opportunities for growth and development. Employers are required to make adjustments to the workplace to accommodate people who have disabilities to be inclusive and fair.

Equal compensation is about paying people who perform a similar function the same or an equivalent salary. In the past, women who did the same job as men were paid less but laws and workplaces have been trying to close the wage gap based on gender.

Pay or compensation must be paid based on the type of job, level, experience, education and quality of work.

Protection Against Harassment in the Workplace

Harassment at work can take many forms. Most people know about sexual harassment, but people can also be harassed based on their religion, race, age and sexual orientation.

Harassment is any situation in which an employee feels threatened or humiliated by their colleagues.

Employers must have policies in place to protect their employees from any form of harassment and must have procedures to deal with employees who harass others.

Labor unions are formed to work on behalf of their members to advocate for better working conditions and higher pay. All employees and workers have a right to join a labor union that will represent them. Employees can’t be stopped from attending labor union meetings, encouraging other employees to join the union and distributing information about the union as long as it doesn’t interfere with their work or take up company time.

Employees also have the right to go on strike if they aren’t satisfied with their work conditions or pay.

Why is Safety Important in the Workplace?
diverse employee having a meeting

All companies are required to provide a safe working environment for their employees. When we think of safety in the workplace, we often think of jobs that are risky and where workers can be injured or killed.

Still, safety in the workplace also includes providing an office that is clean, well-lit, well ventilated, insulated during colder seasons and adequately cooled during the summer. An employer has to make sure the workplace doesn’t cause employees to become sick.

Companies must abide by health and safety regulations in keeping with industry standards and the law. It’s crucial for every company to have a health and safety officer or a first-aider responsible for the staff’s health and safety. This individual must ensure that health and safety procedures are followed.

Malpractice in the Workplace

Malpractice and negligence are often used interchangeably in the workplace, but they are two separate things. Every employee should know what’s malpractice and how to curb it in the workplace.

Malpractice is a type of negligence. It’s an illegal, unethical, or immoral activity often carried out by a person who is in a position of authority that benefits themselves. Examples of malpractice at work include fraud, blackmail, and bribery, putting the health and safety of employees at risk to save money, and deliberately breaking the law.

It’s imperative to report malpractice at work as soon as you become aware of it, especially if it puts the health and safety of other employees at risk. How you report it depends on your company. Some companies have procedures to handle negligence and malpractice, so it’s best to follow these procedures.

If your organization doesn’t have any procedures in place to handle malpractice, the first step would be to report it to your manager. If nothing is done, it must be escalated further. As a last resort, you can reach out to external organizations that deal with the matter. For example, if it’s a health and safety concern, reach out to the Health and Safety department.

Stand Up for Your Rights as an Employee

All employees have a right to feel safe at work, have equal opportunities, be paid a fair and equal wage, and join a union. Also, it’s the responsibility of the employer to make sure that employees are given a safe place to work free and protect them from harassment.

Ideally, companies must have procedures in place to deal with malpractice at work, but if this isn’t the case, employees must report any malpractice to the relevant authorities.