5 Legal Rights All Young Professionals Should Know

Lawyers are in business for a reason; no average civilian has the capacity to know and understand the vast multitudes of law. All of its sectors, all of its divisions and sub-divisions. It takes a highly trained and well-read law professional to even know which section to turn to when searching for rights. Many of us go through our lives having no idea how many times we've been wronged, how many times there was a way out, or a law to protect us.

But as young professionals, it's in our best interest to have a few work-related rights within the realm of our comprehension. While many rights and regulations change from state to state, there are still many professional rights that apply to us nationally under the federal law. And while many of these rights might not make perfect sense to our non-legal-trained brains, it will help to become familiar with them.

If you devote your time and hard work to a company, you should know about the ways in which they are legally devoted to you. While it's always important to seek professional advice when going forth with any legal action, there are a few concepts you're free to understand all on your own. It's important to know when the law's got your back.

Sexual Harassment

Your right to work freely and unencumbered by sexual harassment is much more in-depth than the obvious physical implications. Sexual harassment includes unwanted verbal advances, offers, and solicitations. It covers conduct laced with sexual connotations and even how the sexual conduct of others affects your work environment. You cannot lose your job for reporting sexual harassment, and you cannot lose your job for your involvement as the victim of sexual harassment. Title VII protects you.

Discrimination Laws

Did you know that many of your personal characteristics are protected by law? If you're being treated differently because of your gender, beliefs, sexual orientation or identity, genetics, race, color, natural origin, age, or disability, create a formal complaint immediately or get in touch with your HR department so make sure a proper case is filed. Federal law protects against any and all discriminatory actions.

Occupational Safety

Your employer is responsible for maintaining a healthy and safe workplace. Each industry has its own standards and are federally enforced. The law protects you from workplace hazards that range from the obvious like physical injury to the more complex like psychological injury and endangerment. If you feel like your job is taking a toll on your health, there's a chance a line is being crossed. Learn your rights at the Occupational Safety & Health Administration.

Wage And Hour Laws

The US Department of Labor protects employees from unfair conditions in the workplace. Your rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act ensure that you are paid consistently and appropriately by federal law. These acts include overtime, minimum wage, equal pay for equal work, child labor, drug testing and salary versus hourly consideration.

Criminal Laws

When criminal activity happens in the workplace, whether it's petty larceny or much grander conspiracies, as an uninvolved employee, you can find yourself on the wrong side of the law if you don't know your rights. And if you're the victim of criminal activity in the workplace, you might find yourself protected not only by law, but by your employer's insurance. Get to know your rights at the US Department of Labor.

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