5 Things your boss can’t do legally

The ideal boss is a leader, a motivator, and a safe place in the workspace. Unfortunately, bosses like that are getting increasingly harder to find. Your boss sets the tone for workplace culture, and they play a crucial role in shaping future business leaders.


They have a duty and a responsibility to act ethically and within the realms of the law. No one is above the law, including your employer. There are rules and regulations surrounding labor relations in America, and multiple statutes are overseen by commissions and governmental departments.

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If you think your boss is violating these laws, read on for five examples of things your boss cannot legally do:

1. Illegal Contracts and Agreements

With so many saturated industries out there – business competition is at an all-time high, making unscrupulous agreements far too commonplace today. Non-compete agreements are the most popular contractual agreements nowadays, with companies always attempting to dictate competitor probationary periods.

Many states prohibit non-compete agreements entirely, while others get forced into making theirs as reasonable as possible.

2. Not Pay Overtime

Employee compensation is a complex and convoluted subject, but the bottom line of overtime pay is straightforward. Overtime is often necessary for businesses to be as productive as possible, and the only way that works is through the use of time tracking. There is an impressive body of law that governs how employees get paid for working beyond their normal scope of weekly hours.

The Fair Labor Standards Act requires businesses to pay non-exempt employees overtime when they work more than 40 hours a week. Some states in America are stricter, with California making employers pay overtime to those who work more than eight hours a day.

3. Ask Prohibited Questions During an Interview

You may not realize this, but labor laws protect employees long before they are even hired. These laws prevent employees from discrimination and harassment if they are hired. The only way to ensure that the hiring process is a free and fair one is to prohibit potential employers from asking personal questions on the application form or during the interview.

These questions include topics such as gender identity, health conditions, race, or sexual orientation. If you’re unsure if you have been the victim of discrimination in the workplace, consult the experts on workplace rights.

4. Retaliate Against Whistleblowers

It is wholly against the law to take disciplinary action against an employee who complains about illegal activity in the workplace. The key takeaway here is that the activity must be illegal. Your boss being short with you won’t trigger an immediate legal process.

Most states have whistleblower laws to protect employees against retaliation. When complaining about illegal activity in the workplace, be sure to have sufficient evidence to substantiate your claim.

5. Social Media Restrictions

In America, it is illegal to curtail worker communications. That can be viewed as the employer trying to prevent the employees from organizing and unionizing. Employers usually know how to proceed with caution when dealing with employees who choose to air their gripes on their personal social media pages.

That doesn’t give employees the right to say whatever they like online; threats and malicious intentions could still be grounds for disciplinary action or even dismissal. Keep that in mind the next time you want to complain online about your workplace!

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Staff writer at LAFFAZ, Asiya is a keen collector of lesser-known yet significant facts and stories from all across the world and loves presenting them to the masses through her writings.

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