Every employee has rights in the workplace. While these rights may vary (some of them can be found here), they all have one purpose – the protect employees. As you conduct your business in the workplace, you might wonder why knowing these rights is so important. Fortunately, the importance of knowing workplace rights can be divided into three simple categories – helping yourself, protecting yourself, and being there for others.
First and foremost, knowledge of employment rights is important because no one else is going to keep track of them for you. Employment rights don’t just vary from country to country – they vary between the states and between industries. No one will hold your hand through the process, so it is incumbent upon you to learn what you can and cannot be asked to do. While this might sound like a difficult prospect, remember that it’s also a wonderful opportunity – the more you know about your rights, the less likely it becomes that anyone can take advantage of you.
It’s also important to learn about your rights because employment is almost by definition an adversarial system. Your employer will want to get the most out of his or her employees that he or she can, and may be tempted to impede your rights to do so. Even a great employer may not be aware of how he or she is violating his or her employer’s rights, so it’s your job to keep him or her up to date. Even Forbes agrees that it’s important for an employee to know when and how to go over his or her boss’ head to solve problems.
Finally, learning about your rights is important because it helps you to protect others. You have friends and family in the workplace, and they need to know if someone is taking advantage of them. You can position yourself not as an expert, but as someone who knows when to tell a colleague that it is time to speak to a lawyer. You have the opportunity to help others deal with their issues even as you educate yourself about the rights you have as an employee.
Even if you work at an ideal business, it’s still important that you understand your rights. Not every violation is done on purpose, but only an informed working can make sure those violations are not repeated. Make sure to educate yourself and always be willing to come forward when you believe your rights have been violated – doing so is the best way to ensure the safety and fairness of your workplace.