Human rights are considered the basis of civilized life. This concept has not always been fully appreciated, but it has grown in importance through the years. Human rights ensure that people are free and valued as an equal to their fellow human beings.

Human Rights in the Workplace
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Human Rights Day was introduced and sponsored by the United Nations. In 1948, the U.N. drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The document established the equal dignity and innate worth of every individual.

Workers’ rights, as they align with human rights, are now used as guidelines when drawing up legislation for workers. Workers’ rights may differ from state to state, but the basis is the same: A person is free to work, be compensated accordingly and have a safe work environment. The worker is to be viewed as more than just a means to an end, but as an individual to be respected.

Here’s a closer look at a few of the basic rights that people are entitled to in the workplace:

  • Privacy in things pertaining to workers’ personal lives
  • Time off after the birth of a child
  • Equal treatment regardless of country of origin, race, ethnicity, pregnancy, religious persuasion or disability
  • A safe work environment which is free from undue danger or harassment
  • Equal treatment regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation and marital status
  • Reasonable pay, which should be at least minimum wage, with overtime pay when an employee works for more than 40 hours per week or 8 hours per day
  • Time off from work due to illness

While there are still ample strides to be made in the fight for individual rights, it is heartening to see how far we have come thanks to the diligent work of many people and organizations devoted to the cause of human dignity.

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