Whenever we hold discussions about human rights, the question of employee rights never fails to come up. That is mainly because of the power dynamics that exist between employees and their employers — where the employees end up being a rather vulnerable lot. Against that background, it is very easy for the employees to be exploited by their employers: hence the need for their rights to be jealously protected. Some of the specific ways in which employee rights can be protected include:
- Through legislation: there has to be a legal framework within which employee rights can be protected. And whereas it is possible for employee rights to be mentioned in constitutions, the wording of constitutions tends to be very broad and general. It is through legislation that specific issues of concern can be dealt with. Thus, wherever a trend emerges, where employee rights are being abused, it is necessary to lobby the lawmakers to come up with the appropriate legislation, to address the specific issue.
- By educating the employees on their rights: it is only by educating the employees about their rights that they will be in a position to know when those rights are being abused. The subject of employee rights should be a matter of general public knowledge: stuff that everyone knows about. After all, everyone is bound to be an employer or an employee at some point. Thus, as part of the general school curriculum, there should be education on the rights of employees. It should be the sort of thing that everyone is aware of. This, sadly, is not always the case. We see people going through the entire educational system, graduating, and even getting their first jobs, without having any knowledge on the subject of employee rights. So, for instance, you find a person who has gone through the education system, and even obtained an entry-level job at a company like Walmart, without ever having anyone to educate him on employee rights. Thus, by the time he is assigned a Walmartone account (which makes it possible for him to go sign in at the Walmartone login page and access work-related resources, he is wholly at the mercy of the employer.
- By allowing the employees to join trade unions: trade unions serve as the ombudsmen bodies, through which employee rights can be protected in a practical way. Unfortunately, we see some companies barring their employees from joining trade unions — which means that such employees can easily be exploited and abused.