Every human being has or enjoys some basic rights irrespective of the gender, race, creed, religion or country. Every person needs to know his or her fundamental human rights in the place he/she finds her/himself, the workplace inclusive. Rights are legal documents that protect someone in a place. There are various rights one is entitled to enjoy in the workplace. Your rights at the workplace are meant to protect you and to strengthen the relationship between you and your employer. The workplace has become the second home for you because you spend at least eight hours of your precious life each day there. The average person spends 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime. Your rights at the workplace are stipulated in the constitution of the country, the labour regulators and the terms and conditions of service in the organization.
The constitution of the country is the statutory right; it gave some parameters in which an employee needs to enjoy some basic rights at the workplace, while the labour regulators enact laws such as labour law, 2003 (Act 651). In Ghana, the labour law, 2003 (Act 651) gave more detailed approach on your (employee) rights and responsibilities at the workplace.
The organization’s terms and conditions of service customize your rights within the organization’s framework. In an organization with union, the union comes into negotiation and agreement with the employer for you to enjoy some rights.
The potency of your rights comes first from the state, then the labour regulators, and finally the organization. Therefore, your rights at the workplace must have a tripartite approach; the statutory rights, employment laws and contractual rights.
Contractual rights are rights you enjoy as stipulated in the contract of service or employment. Your employment contract is a personal, legal agreement that binds your relationship with your employer.
Employment contract can be either written or orally communicated to you. In a professional organization, the employer is mandated, ethically, to give the employee a written contract. Some of your contractual rights cover the details of the job, appointments and promotions, remuneration, welfare, end of service and others, which may be fit in the eyes of the employer and with/without the union.
The Labour law, 2003(Act 651), is an employment law which has stipulated some employee’s rights at the workplace. Some of your rights in the Labour law (Act 651) are maternity rights, discrimination, dismissal and redundancy, pay, unionization, holiday rights and the access to employment tribunal (the labour commission).
You are required to know all these rights because they are your legal rights at the workplace. Everyone at the workplace is protected by several rights and these rights protect you against the worst kind of exploitation and unfair treatment. Some rights provide you with a choice and voice in your precious working life. Other rights make sure that your employer keeps the side of his/her bargaining, while you keep yours. Proper knowledge of your rights at the workplace will keep you in harmony with your employer and the society as a whole.