The Goodwin FirmThe Goodwin FirmThe Goodwin Firm
(727) 316-5333
9am - 5pm
St. Petersburg, FL. 33701

Legal Basics: Understanding Employer Rights and Responsibilities


What are the rights every employer should know they have?

Employees have important rights and responsibilities, but so do the businesses that employ them. If you’re an employer,you have the right to run your business as you see fit, provided you’re not in violation of any applicable laws. You also have an obligation to provide safe and respectful working conditions for your employees.

So, to sustainably operate your business and achieve the goals you’ve established, you need to have a high level of awareness of employment law concepts, including employer rights and responsibilities.

What Are My Rights as an Employer?

You may already know what you’re prohibited from doing as an employer. But having an understanding of the rights given to you by the law and using them to your advantage will improve your employee’s productivity and give you a competitive edge.

Here are some of the basic rights of employers:

The Right to Demand Hard Work

In today’s competitive business environment, you can’t afford to retain unproductive performers or allow employees to provide poor customer service. You have the right to demand hard work from your employees and expect work that is up to the high standards you’ve set, provided they’re realistic. You also have the right to take action against lazy or unproductive employees who fail to meet your standards of quality.

The Right to Require Mandatory Overtime

In most states, employers have the right to demand that employees work overtime, even on holidays and weekends. However, you must pay non-exempt employees overtime wages consistent with applicable federal and state laws. Overtime pay typically applies to hourly employees.

The Right to Demand Loyalty from Your Workforce

Employees do not have the right to make deals on the side using your business name or to set up a competing business while they work for you. You can and should take appropriate action against employees who put their own interests ahead of your company’s. This can be anything from a stern reprimand to termination, depending on the severity of their behavior.

The Right to Protect Your Trade Secrets

As an employer, you should expect your employees to respect the proprietary nature of trade secrets. You have the right to demand that confidential business information not be shared or disclosed during the worker’s employment or after. Legally protected trade secrets include strategic plans, customer and supplier lists, financial data, pricing information, recipes, manufacturing methods, product formulas, and more.

The Right to At-Will Termination

An employer can terminate the employment relationship with a worker “at will” without citing wrongdoing or providing reasons for the termination. This means it’s perfectly fine to dismiss an employee who “doesn’t fit in.”

However, you should be careful when doing this to avoid being the target of a discrimination lawsuit. For example, you could be sued if you terminate an employee who has a clean work record without any previous warnings.

What Are My Responsibilities as an Employer?

An employer is expected to carry out some legal obligations toward their workers, as provided by employment laws. These responsibilities are meant to ensure a safe and conducive workplace environment for employees.

Provide Safe Working Conditions

Employers have a responsibility to comply with safety standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). To create a safe and healthy work environment, an employer must:

  • Provide a workplace free from serious recognized hazards
  • Assess risks and provide signs to warn employees of potential hazards
  • Provide personal protective equipment
  • Consult employees on health and safety issues
  • Provide safety training to workers in an easy-to-understand manner
  • Keep an up-to-date safety policy
  • Arrange first aid treatment

Maintain Equality in the Workplace

It’s an employer’s legal duty to provide and maintain a discrimination-free workplace, as provided by The Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission. Employers cannot discriminate based on color, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, race, marital status, pregnancy, disability, or national origin. Moreover, employers must make accommodations when necessary.

Compensate Employees Properly

It’s your duty as an employer to pay your employees for all hours worked in a workweek. These hours include all time spent on duty or at the workplace. You must properly classify your workers and pay them a fair wage based on their reasonable workload.

And unless exempt, you must pay your workers overtime pay of 1.5 times their hourly rate for each overtime hour. The responsibilities of employers with respect to salaries and benefits are defined under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Consult an Experienced Employment Law Attorney in Florida

If you have any questions about your rights and responsibilities as an employer or need assistance with any legal claims, the employment law attorney at The Goodwin Firm is here to help. We can explain your rights and responsibilities and ensure compliance with applicable state and federal employment laws.

We also provide a vigorous defense against employment-related complaints and lawsuits. Contact us today to schedule a legal consultation.

Previous Post
Newer Post