Employee rights are essential to a fair workforce, yet many people don’t realize just how many rights they have under the law. To help illustrate this issue, we’re going to explore five employee rights every New Hampshire resident should know.
A Safe Work Environment
All employees, no matter their occupation, are entitled to a reasonably safe work environment. That means having the proper training to address hazards and emergency procedures, as well as adequate safety equipment and tools to prevent injury.
If you or your coworkers identify a predictable hazard (like failing machinery or structural damage) and your employer refuses to address it or tells you to ignore it, you should contact an attorney immediately. It just might save someone’s life.
Protection From Unlawful Discrimination
All employees deserve equal treatment at work. To this end, there are “protected classes” under the law. If an employer discriminates against an employee (such as in hiring, firing, promotions, etc.) because of their protected class status, or coworkers discriminate against an employee and the employer does not take action, the affected employee may have standing in an unlawful discrimination claim.
In New Hampshire, the protected classes include age, race, color, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, national origin, religious creed, and marital status.
If you have a disability that prevents you from carrying out the essential duties of your position, you may have a right to reasonable accommodation. This means your employer must make reasonable changes that will allow you to do your job, despite your disability.
However, your employer may argue that accommodating you would cause them under “undue hardship.” If this happens, you should discuss your options with an employment attorney immediately.
Protection From Harassment
If you ever feel you are in a hostile work environment because of one of the protected classes listed above, you have a right to file a harassment complaint. If the harassment you face is ongoing or severe, contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Protection From Retaliation
Whether you are raising concerns about unlawful discrimination or harassment, requesting a reasonable accommodation of a disability or medical leave, or raising concerns about unlawful or unethical work issues as a whistleblower, you are legally protected from retaliation. Your employer cannot take action against you because you reported a violation of employee rights (either for yourself or on behalf of another).
That said, your employer may argue that their actions are unrelated to the complaint and are based on performance or company finance. If this happens, you should contact an employment law attorney immediately so you can determine if you were the victim of retaliation.
If you have concerns about employment law, let us help. To schedule a free case consultation with an experienced New Hampshire employment law attorney from Upton & Hatfield, LLP, don’t hesitate to call (603) 716-9777 or send us an email.