Employee Rights

Individual rights are the topic of much conversation in our society today. Privileges are things that individuals are allowed to do based on asking permission from an authority.

In simple terms, a privilege must be earned because the individual does something successfully (like passing a driver’s test or getting good grades in high school), while a right is provided to the individual by the society in which they are a member. We don’t have a right to drive, especially not any way we want. Driving is a privilege based on the individual showing that they have knowledge of the correct way to drive so that they can avoid doing harm to others.

On the other hand, a right does not require the individual to do anything in order to gain that right at that time in that society. Rights are things a person in a society is allowed to do without any permission required from an authority. Rights are bestowed upon the individual based on their membership in the society.

The simple way to tell the difference between a right and a privilege in an organization is this: If the employee has to request permission to do something within the organization, then the employee is attempting to exercise a privilege. On the other hand, employees do not need permission to exercise their rights.

In general, employees have several rights. The individual employee doesn’t have to do anything to gain these rights. Some of these rights are part of federal or state laws, while others are simply provided by organizations because they are accepted as part of our society.

Because the employee is a part of this society (the organization), they gain these rights. The organization has a duty to protect each employee’s rights. This duty, or obligation, is a societal (company) responsibility to protect the individual’s (employee) rights. The individual employee also has a duty to avoid violating the rights of other employees in the course of exercising their own rights. So rights are always balanced by duties or responsibilities.
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