Workers in Alberta are protected under various laws, such as the Human Rights Act, Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Employment Standards Code. While most employees know about laws that protect them from discrimination, they may be unaware of other rights they have as workers. For example, under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, workers have the right to refuse work orders that threaten their safety. With some exceptions, employers must pay workers who reported for duty for at least three hours, even if they were sent home without working for three hours. Those who work for more than three hours must receive compensation for the hours they worked.
Anyone whose work hours exceed eight hours per day or 44 hours per week is entitled to overtime pay. Furthermore, employers may not deduct money for damages from a worker’s wages; however, money from tips can be used to pay for broken glasses or other damages. As soon as a person is employed, vacation time begins to accumulate. After 12 months with the same employer, workers are entitled to paid vacation time.
Employers must ensure that workers have the necessary safety equipment, and know the proper way in which to use it. Employers are responsible for the safety of employees. In addition to these workers’ rights, employees are entitled to accommodation for their needs, except if meeting those needs would bring undue hardship for the employer.
As with most laws, there are always exceptions, and workers in Alberta who are victims of discrimination or violations of other employee rights might have questions about their legal rights. The sensible thing to do would be to consult with a lawyer. Legal counsel with experience in all aspects of employment law can provide advocacy that will allow the worker to make informed decisions about how to proceed.