When you hear the phrase, ‘safety in the workplace’ you probably think of hard hats, warning signs and training sessions. It is important to protect your physical safety at work, especially when you work in dangerous environments.
However, there are other crucial ways you need to protect yourself at work, and this includes protecting your rights. Understanding the legal context of your work situation is important, and you’ll need to be able to decipher when you’re in the wrong or when you’re being taken advantage of.
Here are some ways you can protect yourself at work.
Read Your Contract
Many people get lost in the excitement of a job offer, and sign their contract without even reading it through, which can be a grave mistake.
Read your contract thoroughly and even enlist the help of a labour lawyer to help you understand all the terms. Make sure your remuneration, working hours, time off, roles and responsibilities are all clear to you and refer back to your agreement if you feel that any of these are not aligning once you begin working.
Understand All Agreements
There may be other terms and agreements within your contract that you’ll need to pay attention to and understand clearly. For example, if you sign a non-compete agreement, make sure that the duration is reasonable and that you understand all the terms and conditions.
Failing to comply with agreements like this could land you in serious legal trouble, which is why you need to know exactly what you’re agreeing to.
Write Down Everything
If you fear being accused of doing something you haven’t done (or not doing something you should have) it’s always best to cover yourself by having a record of your work activities, similarly to how some jobs require you to clock in and out.
Tracking your workdays, days off and activity at work can not only help protect you but even improve your productivity, making it a good habit to practice for any employee.
Find a Labour Lawyer
Even if you aren’t experiencing any legal trouble at work, it’s a good idea to get in touch with a labour lawyer that you like and trust.
Having someone to turn to will be helpful for if any issues arise, and this will save you the trouble and stress of having to seek out a reputable lawyer in the midst of a serious issue at work, when you desperately need legal advice.
Join a Union
Some employers will discourage their team to join a union because they know it might benefit you more than it will them.
However, this kind of persuasion is illegal, and there are countless reasons to join a union. Talk to your potential employer about union membership before you sign a new contract.
Finally, you can protect your future self by learning how to complain effectively. Knowing how to calmly and professionally handle your grievances in the workplace will give you the confidence to speak up and complain when you know you’re being treated unfairly at work.