Workers in the United States are trained to understand that the employer is in charge, and they need to follow directions at all times. In certain situations, this is fine. However, this mindset does sometimes cause workers to think they have to ignore unethical or even illegal behavior because they are not in charge.
This is not the case. You can report illegal behavior, and you have legal protections in place if you become a whistleblower. It is very important to understand all of your rights and how these whistleblower protections work.
With that in mind, here are a few laws that your employer could be breaking:
- Refusing to pay you overtime. Your employer may even claim you don’t deserve it or tell you that the company can’t afford it. This forces you to accept a lower pay rate than you should get for those extra hours.
- Informing you that you and your coworkers are not allowed to talk about how much money you earn. In some cases, employers don’t want employees to talk about salaries, especially if some employees make far less than others. However, you cannot be prohibited from having these conversations.
- Telling you that you must work from home, after you sign out, or when you are otherwise not on the clock. For example, your employer may tell you that you are going to get important emails at night and you need to read them and answer them, even though you’re not getting paid.
- Telling you that you cannot talk to your coworkers about the conditions in the workplace. You absolutely can, especially if there are safety concerns.
Again, you have protections if you decide to file an official complaint about this illegal behavior. Do not let your employer infringe on your rights.