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The Workplace Bill of Rights Cheat Sheet by

Ensure that we have fairness and justice as working people in America
rights     employee     bills     workplace

Introd­uction

For hundreds of years, people from all over the world have been coming to America to make better lives for themselves and their families. Yet today we find more and more Americans are worse off than their parents, or worried their children will be worse off than themse­lves. We must preserve the American Dream for current and future genera­tions of hard-w­orking people throughout our great nation. Pitting one group of workers against another results in a race to the bottom that we all lose.

Over 200 years ago, the Bill of Rights codified our most basic and cherished liberties as citizens of the United States. Now it's time for a "­Wor­kplace Bill of Rights­" to ensure that we have fairness and justice as working people in America.

Rights 1-5

1. Employees should be treated with honesty and respect.
In the workplace, people should treat each other the way they would like to be treated themse­lves. Our workplaces should be free of verbal abuse, threats, sabotage, and bullying of any kind. As much as possible, jobs should maximize the fulfil­lment and develo­pment of the people doing them and should minimize drudgery and stagna­tion. Employers that make promises to their employees about pay, benefits, promot­ions, and respon­sib­ilities should honor those promises.

2. Working full-time should guarantee a basic standard of living.
There's nothing wrong with an economic system that rewards some people very well for their creati­vity, dedica­tion, excell­ence, and ingenuity. This should not mean, however, that equally hard-w­orking people who clean hotel rooms, grow food, or care for children must live in poverty. People who work 40 hours a week should be able to afford-for themselves and their childr­en-safe and comfor­table housing, nutritious food, adequate clothing, quality health care, retirement security, education, reliable transp­ort­ation, and at least some leisure activities and savings, without depending on government assistance or charity.

3. Workplaces should be free of discri­min­ati­on.
The 1964 Civil Rights Act was passed with the goal of elimin­ating employment discri­min­ation. Over 40 years later, literally thousands of incidents of discri­min­ation are reported every year. This simply must stop. All employees should be evaluated based on how they do their jobs-w­ithout bias, prejudice, or stereo­typing.

4. No working person should be without health insura­nce.
It is disgra­ceful that America spends more on health care than any other developed country, yet has more people with inadequate or no health care coverage. Our political and business leaders must work together to develop a strategy that will make adequate and affordable health insurance available to everyone who has a job.

5. No one should have to work his or her entire life.
Employees should be paid enough that they can afford to save for and enjoy retire­ment. Companies that defer some of their employees' compen­sation in the form of pensions must honor those obliga­tions. Social Security must be fully and reliably funded.
 

Rigths 6-10

6. Employees should be able to leave a job with dignity.
Not every employee and every job are a perfect match-­ter­min­ations are a fact of life. But we must abolish the tyranny of at-will employ­ment, where most Americans can be fired for almost any reason - or for no reason at all. When firings or layoffs are justified, they should be carried out with as much notice, dignity, and support as possible. Meaningful job training, career counse­ling, severance pay and benefits, and unempl­oyment insurance should be available to all who need them.

7. Every workplace should be as safe as possib­le.
Having a job shouldn't be a matter of life or death. Employees should be provided with any and all protective equipment and training required to minimize their chances of getting hurt or sick on the job. Enforc­ement of health and safety laws must ensure that it costs more to break the law than to follow it, and employers that willfully put profits before people must be punished. Those employees who still get hurt or sick, even with the best precau­tions, deserve adequate workers' compen­sation.

8. There is more to life than work.
Our entire society is better off when people are able to spend time with their families, be active in their commun­ities, and partic­ipate as citizens. Businesses that encourage their employees' lives away from work find that those employees are more produc­tive, more satisfied, and more loyal. America lags behind almost every other developed country in paid leave for employees. But people get sick, people become disabled, people have loved ones who need care, people have babies, and people need vacations. Work must leave room for these other, but no less vital, parts of life. Employers should have no control over their employees' time off-th­e-c­lock; they should respect the privacy and autonomy of their employees.

9. Employees are entitled to work togeth­er.
Some things that we take for granted - like weekends or the eight-hour workday - we only have because men and women sacrificed their liveli­hoods, and sometimes their lives, to build the labor movement that was the backbone of America's economic dominance in the 20th Century. Even today, without the ability to join together to protect their rights and improve their working condit­ions, employees will be at risk of unfair treatment. For those workers who wish to pursue tradit­ional union organizing or other collective action, employers and the government must continue to honor that establ­ished right.

10. Employees should be able to stand up for their rights.
Employees should never be afraid to stand up for their rights or face punishment because they have done so. Employers should not be able to force employees to give up their rights to get or keep a job. Employees need fair and accessible means to pursue justice when their rights are violated. Agencies charged with enforcing rights must have the resources and commitment to do the job right. The courthouse doors must remain open for those who need justice. Penalties for violating the law must be a true disinc­entive for future violations of these rights.

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