Knowing Your Rights at Work
There are federal and state restrictions on what teens can do at work. Some of these have to do with what hours of the day you can work and others are about the kind of work you are and are not allowed to do. The main law involved with work issues is the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (some people call it the Wage and Hour Law). This law says when you can and can’t work and also outlines some of the hazardous work teens aren’t allowed to do. Under this federal law, people between 14 and 16 can’t work more than 3 hours on a school day and only 18 hours in a school week. If you are between 14 and 16, you can’t work after 7 p.m. during the school year either. This is because people assume that young teens should be focusing most of their time and energy on school, not on earning money.
For more information about how much money you can earn, your state’s minimum wage laws, and issues like drug testing in the workplace, you can always contact your state’s Department of Labor. You can do that through the Internet, the local telephone book, or by visiting your library. It’s always a good idea to become familiar with these laws before you get a job, because then you know what to expect when you start working!
Try a Youthhood activity:
Browse a Web site:
- Job Applicants and the Americans with Disabilities Act (The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) Important information on ADA and accommodations in the workplace.
- U.S. Department of Justice - Civil Rights Division (U.S. Department of Justice) The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, created in 1957 by the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, works to uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans, particularly some of the most vulnerable members of our society. The Division enforces federal statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, disability, religion, familial status and national origin.
- U.S. Department of Labor - Rights of Young Workers (U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)) Information on the rights and responsibilities of young workers in the workplace.
- Minimum Wage (U.S. Department of Labor) Information about current and past minimum wages.
- U.S. Department of Labor (U.S. Department of Labor) All information regarding working and the rights and laws associated with working.