Worker’s Rights Review

Worker’s rights are an important aspect of job readiness instruction and are critical to protecting refugees from instances of discrimination and unsafe working conditions. Here is a summary of worker’s rights to consider covering in your job readiness classes as well as a collection of resources you may find helpful:

Right to be paid – in most instances, workers have the right to be paid federal minimum wage ($7.25 an hour) and to receive overtime pay for work over 40 hours a week. If workers do not receive all of the wages for the time they actually worked, they can take action to recover those wages. Note that many states have minimum wages that exceed the federal minimum wage.

Right to be free of discrimination – it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against or harass workers based on race, color, religion, age, disability, national origin or sex.

Right to organize – in most workplaces, it is illegal for an employer to punish or threaten workers for organizing with others to improve their working conditions.

Right to be safe on the job – workers are protected by workplace health and safety laws at their worksites.

Right to benefits if injured on the job – in most states, workers who are injured on the job are entitled to the protections of state workers’ compensation laws.

Right to unemployment payments – in most states workers who are fully or partially unemployed, looking for work, and have valid work documentation are eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.

Right to choose which documents to show your employer for employment eligibility verification (I-9) – for example, your employer cannot demand that you show them a green card. If you do not have a green card yet, you may show your employer your driver’s license or ID and Social Security Card (SSC).

Right to begin work – if you do not have your Social Security card but can provide other documentation of status such as an I-94, you can still begin working unless e-verify is required, in which case a SS number or card is needed at time of employment.

Right to a work environment free of harassment – if you encounter harassment in the form of sexual aggravation, taunting and bullying, or hazing, you may file a report with the U.S. Dept. of Justice, Office of Special Counsel.

Right to report unfair hiring or work practices – you can report any offenses to the U.S. Dept. of Justice, Office of Special Counsel by calling their hotline at 1-800-255-7688.

For more information, check out these resources:


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How to Create the Wrong Impression in Job Interviews

wrong impressionThe five reasons people only get one job interview (not a call back or a job offer) presents the employer perspective and offers practical alternative behaviors that will create a more hire-able impression. Click here for a unique take on an essential job readiness topic for all our clients.

For example, it’s common to caution clients not to ask about money, break time or their schedule requirements in an initial interview. This article explains the cultural assumptions behind that advice and offers very specific instructions for when those questions are more appropriate.

Give a copy as homework for higher-skilled clients before job readiness class or preparation for an actual job interview.  Doing so will help you accommodate a wide range of skill levels in the same session, rather than offering separate sessions that take more of your time to develop and deliver.

Clients that read the article will still benefit from the same basic points everyone needs to know. The additional information will help them go beyond the basics to develop better strategies for success – and stronger alternative questions.



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Body Language in the U.S. Workplace

Body languageWe all know how important – and culture-specific – non-verbal communication is for client success.  Typically, we cover the topic as it relates to making a good impression in a job interview.

Click here to read clear and detailed explanations about the importance of culturally-appropriate body language for job retention and advancement.  Included are posture, eye contact, gestures, hand shakes and arm-crossing.

You’ll want to integrate these explanations into your job readiness class content.  Consider assigning this article as homework for highly-skilled clients.


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