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What are employee rights laws?

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Quick Answer

Employee rights laws are a set of provisions designed to give workers a way to improve their working situations, regardless of whether or not they belong to a union. Employee rights laws give employees legal protection as they advocate for better wages or a safe working environment, say experts at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

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Full Answer

Under the protection of employee rights laws, workers can approach their supervisors to ask for a higher pay, request more sanitary and sterile environments and seek assistance for matters concerning their coworkers. These laws also give employees the right to collective actions. They may create unions if none previously exist, and they can eradicate unions that do not have support within their companies, say experts at the NLRB.

Employees not associated with a union, under the protection of the NLRB, can meet with one or more coworkers to approach superiors with certain demands. They may ask for improvements that mutually benefit their working environment, such as protection and assistance.

The NLRB applies primarily to workers in the private sector. Those employed by the government, who work as independent contractors, who are employed by parents or a spouse or who work in the agricultural industry do not have protection. Additionally, people who perform domestic work for relatives are exempt from these laws. People who receive protection under the Railway Labor Act are also exempt from NLRB oversight.

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