By Joshua C. Black, Esq.
December is Universal Human Rights Month. Established in 1948 in response to the human rights violations of World War II and the Holocaust, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is designed to ensure atrocities like these never happen again.
The UDHR represents a clear-cut idea that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Simply put, because we are humans, we have rights that must be recognized and respected. According to the UDHR, inalienable rights are those everyone is entitled to as a human being regardless of race, color, religion, sex, language, political affiliation and national or social origin. Basic human rights include freedom of religion, the right to a fair trial when charged with a crime, the right not to be tortured, and the right to education, among others.
Additionally, human rights give citizens the ability to advocate for themselves and others and challenge poor treatment from a peers and authority, including supervisors, co-workers and business owners in the workplace.
Workers’ rights are an extension of human rights and we have a moral and legal obligation to protect them. No one should be allowed to exploit workers as a means to run a more profitable or efficient business.
Most of us spend a significant amount of time at work. Therefore, workers’ rights are essentially an extension of our inalienable human rights. These include freedom of association; the right to strike; the prohibition of slavery, servitude, forced and compulsory labor; and the right to fair and just working conditions. Employee rights also protect workers’ privacy and freedom from hazardous workplace conditions, employer discrimination and other circumstances that threaten an employee’s safety and overall wellbeing.
Rights at work are very important and, while we focus on workers’ rights throughout the year, this time of year it’s also important to remember the fight for human rights doesn't end at the office doors. The fight for equality and rights goes much further.
Basic rights belong to all of us simply because we are human. They embody key values in our society such as fairness, dignity, equality and respect. It’s important that we remember and shine a light on those who are suffering no matter where they are and remember that we have a collective duty as humankind to work towards ending suffering for others.
When employers and business owners treat workers with respect, the workplace can be a place of self-fulfillment. But, when employees are handled disrespectfully, the workplace can turn into a place of distain, mistreatment and even humiliation.
As we look forward to the year ahead, let’s focus on combating discrimination and mistreatment of all people. While there is much more to be done to reduce inequality and advance human rights in the world and in the workplace, being aware of disadvantages and having a drive to make a difference will help foster positive change globally.
If you feel you have been unfairly discriminated against at your place of employment, or would like to speak with an Arizona employment attorney regarding your experiences, contact the Law Office of Joshua Black, PLC, at (623) 738-2225.