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Employee Workplace Rights and Responsibilities: What You Need To Know

Illustration for article titled Employee Workplace Rights and Responsibilities: What You Need To Know
Image: Pixabay (Fair Use)

Being hired for a job position is what we all desire - it’s a good starting point to gain experience especially when you have plans of having a better future. Being an employee is more than just having to work 9-5, doing routine jobs. For some, there’s passion in it and it’s an excellent training ground for them about the business process, particularly, when they aim to build a business of their own one day.

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Now, as an employee, you have legal rights and responsibilities in the workplace. Of course, everyone wants to keep their mental health in shape while being employed and your rights cover that. Keep in mind that both employers and employees have formal rights and responsibilities under discrimination, privacy, and work health and safety legislation.

Without further ado, here are the legal rights and responsibilities you have as an employer.

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Right To Information

Illustration for article titled Employee Workplace Rights and Responsibilities: What You Need To Know
Image: Pixabay (Fair Use)
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Being an employee, you have the right to know your rate of pay, working hours and entitlements to breaks and leave that are stated in your contract. If you have questions regarding conditions of your employment and other entitlement such as holidays, then, feel free to ask. It’s your employer’s responsibility to address all your concerns and that you receive all your entitlements in terms of pay and conditions.

In addition, it is your responsibility to know what to do if you think your employer is not meeting their responsibilities. Plus, be sure that you divulge any information regarding your health conditions if you have any. It’s part of your responsibility as an employee.

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Right To Safety

It is your employer’s responsibility to ensure that your safety is a priority. In Australia, employer’s are obliged to provide and maintain, as far as practicable, a safe working environment, under section 19(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984. It is also known as the employer’s ‘duty to care’ - an act that aims to protect employees from both physical hazards such as slippery floors, heavy loads, unguarded machinery and hazardous substances. Plus, it also covers psychosocial workplace hazards like workplace bullying, violence and aggression.

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In connection with this, you have the right to be represented by a Health and Safety Representative, a Health and Safety Committee representing workers or by other arrangements agreed (for example, Union Representative).

In any event that you experience a threat in your safety, immediately bring this concern to the attention of your employer or HR.

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Right To Harassment Prevention

Illustration for article titled Employee Workplace Rights and Responsibilities: What You Need To Know
Image: Pixabay (Fair Use)
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Yes, you have the right to be protected from any possible harassment at work. Remember, any psychosocial workplace hazards such as harassment in all forms should be considered a threat to your safety. As such, your employer should see to it that this matter is well taken care of.

Mental health conflicts affect anyone and it is your right as an employee to be protected by your employer in any event that you are experiencing conflicts, gossip and bullying in the workplace. It is stated in the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) that it is the responsibility of the employer to prevent harassment to an individual experiencing a mental health condition, including physical and verbal abuse.

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Right To Making Reasonable Adjustments

Oh, yes. Just because you signed a contract doesn’t mean that you should just follow all the orders by your boss even if it’s no longer reasonable. This includes overtime. All time worked beyond 38 hours per week is overtime. Although in Australia, under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), it is legal for the employer not to pay overtime as long as it is considered reasonable unless otherwise prescribed by the applicable modern award or enterprise agreement.

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With regards to work, changes to the workplace or an employee’s role to help them stay at or return to work after an absence is considered legal. It is your right, too. Reasonable adjustments are sometimes essential in order for the business to adapt.

Furthermore, it is your right to reject an overtime if you deem it to be unreasonable like it poses any risk to employee health and safety, if there is no prior notice given by the employer to work the additional hours, and more.

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Conclusion

Employees have responsibilities to the company especially in terms of providing efficient results based on their job description. However, they also have rights while they are working under a certain company. In any event that you experience a violation of your rights, such as workplace bullying, discrimination or unfair dismissal, don’t hesitate to take legal actions. It’s paramount that you know how to file a complaint about your employer when things turn sideways. Know when to ask help - keep that in mind.

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