As we sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, we are thankful for all our friends and family, of course. But here are five more things for which Maine workers can give thanks.
1) The right to organize – The power of the organized labor cannot be underestimated. In fact, we can all be thankful to unions for the rights we now enjoy – such as weekends and 40-hour work weeks.
2) The right to work in a safe workplace – The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) was passed to prevent workers from being killed or seriously harmed at work. The law requires employers to provide their employees with working conditions that are free of known dangers. Since the Act, which is enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) went into effect, injuries and deaths in the workplace have gone down more than 65%.
3) The right to take time off to take care of family members – Under the Family Medical Leave Act, workers can take unpaid, protected leave from their workplaces to take care of their family members – whether it’s a newborn infant or a critically ill parent.
4) The right not to be discriminated against due to age, gender, race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation or disability – Under Maine’s Equal Opportunity Employer laws, workers are free to work in jobs for which they are qualified without facing unfair treatment due to any differences.
5) The right to speak up – Under the Whistleblowers Protection Act, you cannot be fired or threatened if you speak up about a workplace problem or violation, refuse to do something that would endanger your life – or the life of someone else, or participate in a government investigation.
I wish you all of you a happy Thanksgiving! Hopefully you are enjoying some time off to spend with your loved ones.
About the author: Benjamin K. Grant is an attorney at the workers’ rights law firm, McTeague Higbee. He can be reached at email@example.com or 207-725-5581.