Employee Rights Questions and Answers

Group of people having a break in the cafeteria
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There are many circumstances where it's important to know your rights, both at work and when you are job hunting.

Here's information on employment regulations and labor laws that provide protection against hiring and workplace discrimination, harassment, termination of employment, and wage and salary violations. There are also definitions of the terms relating to job seeker and employee rights explained in plain language.

Employee Rights Questions and Answers

Interviews, Hiring, and Onboarding: Before you even apply for a job or go to an employment interview, you should know that there are certain questions that it is illegal for hiring committees to ask job candidates. There is also personal information that cannot be requested for jobs in the United States, but which may be required if you apply for work abroad.

  • Can an Employer Ask for Your Social Security Number?
  • Can an Employer Change My Job Description?
  • Can an Employer Specify Religion in a Job Posting?
  • Can an Employer Revoke a Job Offer
  • Can Employers Check Employment History?
  • Can Employers Check Unemployment History?
  • Employee Privacy Law
  • Is it Illegal to Ask for a Job Applicant’s Date of Birth?
  • What Can Employers Say About Former Employees?

Discrimination: The United States has very strict regulations governing discrimination in hiring and in the workplace. Employers are expected to adhere to these rules (which is why many job announcements and employer websites will contain a boilerplate statement like, “It is the policy of (Name of Company) not to discriminate against any applicant for employment, or any employee, because of age, color, sex, disability, national origin, race, religion, or veteran status”).

Foreign Labor Laws: Here is information for foreign nationals about how to apply for a job in the United States and their rights under U.S. law.

  • Authorization to Work in the US
  • Foreign Labor Law
  • How to Get a Permit to Work in the US
  • Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)
  • Immigration Discrimination

Drug Testing / Employee Privacy Laws: Drug testing in the workplace is largely governed by state law and individual company policy, except for industries like transportation, safety, defense, transit, and aviation, where it is required by federal law. Candidates for federal, state, and county jobs are also frequently required to submit to drug testing.

  • Company Drug Testing Policy
  • Drug Testing for Employment
  • Substance Abuse and Employment

Workplace Harassment: Every employee is entitled to a workplace that is free of physical, emotional, psychological, and sexual harassment. Know what constitutes workplace harassment and how to respond to it should it occur.

Vacation / Holidays / Time Off / Leave: How much vacation time are you entitled to in your current job? Is your employer required to give you time off during national holidays? Here are some answers.

  • Am I Entitled to Holidays Off or Holiday Pay?
  • Am I Entitled to Vacation?
  • Comp Time
  • Do I Get Paid For Working on a Holiday?
  • Time Off From Work

Wage, Salary, and Benefits: Your paycheck and benefits are dependent upon numerous factors – whether you have seniority in your position, if you work full- or part-time, or if you are an exempt or non-exempt employee.

Work Breaks / Overtime: Is your employer required to give (or pay you for) scheduled work breaks? Can they demand that you work overtime? The answer is, “It depends.”

Termination / Unemployment: All good things (and certainly all jobs) must come to an end – it’s as inevitable as death and taxes. Here’s what to expect when you either willingly resign for a job or are terminated.

  • Am I Entitled to Severance Pay?
  • Can I Sue for Wrongful Termination?
  • Do I Have to Give Two Weeks Notice?
  • Do I Qualify for Unemployment?
  • Employee Rights When Your Job is Terminated
  • Fired for Facebook
  • How to File an Unemployment Appeal
  • Severance Packages
  • Unemployment Compensation
  • What Happens if an Employer Contests Unemployment Benefits?
  • When Will I Get My Final Paycheck?

Employment Laws: Here are many of the most important federal laws governing employment practices in the United States.

Top 10 Workplace Violations

If you have more questions about your rights and entitlements as a worker, review this list of the top 10 employee rights workplace violations to determine whether your employer has complied with the most common legal requirements established to protect employees.