Many of us start work, or have even worked for years without knowing our welfare rights. But, knowing these rights is crucial if you find yourself in the unfortunate position where you need to take legal action against your employer.
Here is what your workplace welfare rights should protect you against:
Discrimination in the workplace can take many forms. Unfortunately, sometimes individuals may not even realise they are being discriminated against- but this doesn’t make it right.
In order to be aware of discrimination in the workplace, it helps to know that discrimination can be both direct and indirect. Both forms are harmful and can result in legal action. Here is a breakdown:
This type of discrimination takes place when an employer recieves unfair treatment due to a protected characteristic. For example, if an employer chose not to give a promotion to a woman because she has announced she will be going on maternity leave, and instead gives it to a lesser qualified man.
This discrimination occurs when certain rules are enforced in the workplace that are not fair to a specific protected characteristic in practice. An example would be an employer stating all employees must work one saturday every month. As saturdays are a religious day for those of Jewish faith, this would be indirect discrimination against them.
Under the Equality Act 2010, protected characteristics are:
- Gender reassignment
- Marriage or civil partnership
- Pregnancy or maternity
- Religion or belief
Unreasonable working hours
Employees have the right to both daily and weekly rest breaks. By law, if an employee is working over 6 hours in a day they are entitled to atleast 20 minutes break to hydrate and eat. Also, every seven days employees are entitled to atleast one full day off.
On top of this, you legally cannot be forced to work more than 48 hours a week by your employer. If you do, there must be a contract stating the terms of your working agreement, as well as additional pay received.
Breaches of health and safety laws
In the UK there is both a Workplace Regulations Act (1992) and a Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations Act (1999).
Essentially, having both these Acts in place means Employers have to provide the safest workplace they can, but also regularly maintain this safety.
Thus, things like adequate lighting, heating, ventilation and cleanliness are required in all workplaces. But as well as this, there must be regular assessment of risks and action upon them, as well as the appointment of a competent person to oversee health and safety. All workers also require basic health and safety training.
If you feel your workplace has not provided anything from this list then this is a breach of your rights. Especially if it has resulted in an accident at work.
Under UK law all employees are also protected against unfair dismissal. A lawful reason must be provided by employers if they choose to terminate one of their worker’s contracts.
And, employers must give the minimum amount of notice stated in the contract. Usually, a fair dismissal occurs due to one of these reasons:
- Your conduct
- Your ability to do the job
- You no longer meet the legal requirements to do your job
However, some examples of unfair dismissal would be:
- Being a member of a trade union
- Being dismissed due to a protected characteristic
- Having an accident at work and making a claim against your employer
Not being able to stand up for yourself
Most importantly, as a worker you have the right to stand up for yourself.
Many choose not to because they fear repercussions. But, say if you have an accident at work and you don’t do anything about it, you won’t recieve the compensation you deserve. And, it could easily happen again to someone else.
Daniel Strong, Solicitor at Winn Solicitors, offers some reassuring words: “Having an accident at work can be an extremely stressful situation. From the initial injury to having to take time off work and dealing with the uncertainty of returning to work, an accident can have far reaching effects on your day-to-day life.
“People often avoid making a claim because they fear potential consequences, but at Winn Solicitors, we have decades of experience in this specialist field of law and we’re here to put your mind at rest. Our experts are on hand to get you the help and compensation you’re entitled to.
“You are entitled to make a claim if you have suffered an injury at work, and you deserve compensation.”
With a dedicated team of legal specialists in employer liability claims, Winn Solicitors will support you throughout the whole legal process. From making your claim, to obtaining compensation, all while avoiding the stress.