What are my most basic rights as an employee in the state of Ohio?
One of your most basic rights is a safe workplace, which means physically safe and safe from sexual harassment or discrimination. There should be policies at all companies to establish that sexual harassment will not be tolerated in the workplace. In any instance of sexual harassment, you should immediately notify your employer or HR person.
Under the minimum wage laws or other applicable laws of the state of Ohio, you have a right to be paid fair compensation for the work you perform. As an employee in the state of Ohio, you are also entitled to be paid for overtime by your employer unless explicitly told at the beginning of employment at the company that they will not pay you for overtime.
You have a right to be free from illegal discrimination in the workplace, generally based on your race, sex, age, disability, religion, and your sexual orientation. This right applies while you are an employee at a company as well as while you are going through the hiring process. When applying to a company, the applicant has the right to be free from discrimination based on these characteristics.
A right to privacy in the workplace is also among the basic rights of an employee in Ohio. This extends to an employee’s personal possessions, including but not limited to handbags or briefcases, personal telephone conversations, and employee-only storage areas located in the company’s domain.
Privacy also extends to personal information about an employee; credit checks and background checks cannot be pursued by an employer without the employee’s written consent or authorization to do so. This also applies to polygraph tests (though there are some very specific cases considered to be exceptions for using these tests) and drug testing. Drug testing is usually limited by state law; therefore, the employer may only test the employee if:
- His or her job exposes the worker or others to a great deal of risk
- He or she has completed a drug rehabilitation program or is currently enrolled in such a program
- He or she has been involved in a work-related accident in which drug use was suspected
- Management reasonably believes he or she has been using drugs, based on physical evidence and/or behavior
To learn more about your basic rights, review your company’s employee handbook. The handbook should give you a good understanding of what is expected of you and your rights under your employer. Review the handbook, and if you have any questions, contact your employer or contact our law offices for an explanation.