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North Carolina dead last in rankings of worst states for workers

On Behalf of | Sep 23, 2021 | Employment Law |

In North Carolina and across the United States, workers often have cause to be concerned about their employee rights. Being protected from employer wrongdoing and making sure the proper wages and benefits are provided is essential. However, even with greater attention being paid to worker rights, many employers still take advantage of their employees. A recent ranking assessed the states across the nation to determine which were the best and worst for employees. North Carolina not only fared poorly, but it was judged dead last. With this information, workers should be more vigilant than ever and take steps if they are mistreated in any way.

Worker protections

A recent report by the charity organization Oxfam America says that the state came in 52nd in the rankings. It is 52 rather than 50 because Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. were included. Based on three fundamental aspects of worker rights – unionization rights, worker protections and wage policies – the state laws were analyzed to come to the conclusions. According to researchers, North Carolina ranks so low because of its lack of investment in workers. Examples provided include the absence of protections workers have if a woman becomes pregnant, if there is sexual harassment, if there is discrimination and for wage issues.

Another concern is the lag between filing for unemployment benefits and receiving them. The state is notably lax in providing shields for workers who are not paid their full wages and when sexual harassment takes place. It does not have flexible scheduling options, workers are not granted paid time off when they are sick, nor do they receive paid family leave. Since North Carolina is a “right to work” state, it naturally hinders unions. Public sector workers cannot collectively bargain. Workers are not protected from retaliation for protesting wage theft.

Workers do have options if their employee rights are violated

Even with these rankings and clear problems with employee rights, that does not mean they should simply accept it without complaint. Employers who violate wage and hour laws or take advantage of workers in other ways should be held accountable. Employees should not be intimidated to speak out when they have been mistreated. For assistance and advice, it is useful to have professional help with determining a path forward. This can help them to get the wages they are entitled to and to stop any other employment violations that might be taking place.