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What Are Your Legal Rights as an Employee?

By: Louise Harris


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When your employer either doesn’t know or ignores your rights, they may mistreat you because of a personal bias. There are federal employment discrimination laws that protect employees nationwide. Additionally, there are other laws in your state and locally which can also apply to you. In California, for instance, speaking with an employment lawyer in Los Angeles can help educate you on what your rights are there. Or, if you are tighter on budget, you could get help from online legal experts on how to file a lawsuit in a small claims court or the state court. You can read more on that here.

Your Rights as an Employee

Your employer has a responsibility to respect your rights and treat you justly during your tenure. These rights are under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Protected Rights

If you are being treated unjustly, it may be because of discrimination against your race, gender, or even your age. However, you have rights that make unfair treatment illegal. You cannot be discriminated against for the following reasons:

  • Skin color
  • Race
  • Sex
  • Pregnancy
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Disability 

You may feel intimidated by your employer or feel fear because of how you are being treated. If this is the case, you should report what is happening. When you detect that you are being treated unfairly because of any one of these protected areas, then you can file a complaint detailing how you’re being discriminated against. You can also work with an employment attorney who can support you during these trying times. They can provide useful advice and inform you on how to take action.

Behavior Which Can Be Considered Discrimination

You should not be attacked or feel uncomfortable at work because of your background or who you are. Especially when you are committed to your job and performing at the standard level, you should also be paid adequately. Here are some areas of unjust treatment you may encounter when being discriminated against:


You might be getting harassed if your employer targets you in a way that isolates you from others. Bullying can include racial slurs or other degrading comments. For example, if you are discriminated against for your national origin and hear frequent insults, this is unfair treatment. 

Medical Confidentiality

You shouldn’t expect any changes in your employment if any genetic or medical information is given to your employer. All of this information should be kept confidential by your employer as well. For example, if your employer discovers that you have cancer, HIV, dementia, or any other debilitating medical condition, they cannot treat you differently or reduce your pay because of it.

Equal Pay

Rights for all employees should include equal pay commensurate to the level of work you provide and experience. For example, you should not be paid less for being a female or for being elderly. If your work fulfills the acceptable job requirements, the pay should be according to industry standards. 


Reasonable accommodations are within your rights and should be provided for your religious beliefs and any medical conditions you may have. If you need time to take medication regularly throughout the day, for example, you should be allowed breaks. 

Reporting Discrimination

If you report discrimination or are involved in a lawsuit investigation, your employer cannot take action against you. Often, employers may bully employees for providing witness statements for unlawful activities. In this case, it would be considered retaliation. When you believe you are experiencing discrimination or retaliation, you can file a complaint with your local employment rights office. You can also file a lawsuit if the EEOC is unable to help you. 

How An Employer Attorney Can Help You

Employer attorneys are well-versed in the rigorous regulations regarding equal opportunity employment. Once you provide information on your experience, they can analyze the information and decide if it is a case of discrimination. They can identify forms of bullying and harassment and will create a strategy to present your case to the court. Employer attorneys know the federal regulations well and what is considered an illegal activity in workplace interactions.

Contact an Employment Attorney for More Information 

When you experience discrimination, it can be a difficult and hurtful experience. Your main focus should be on your role as an employee and not on purposeless emotional abuse. You have rights as an employee and should not have to endure this treatment. Work with employment attorneys who can stand up for you. 

Published: May 25, 2021

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