The Laws You Need to Know Now

The current social issues that we face are making a lot of people frustrated and desperate. The dollar is still falling and political unrest continues to threaten business prospects. It’s natural for some people to feel scared about what the future may hold. And in an atmosphere of fear or uncertainty, certain business decisions tend to affect your rights as a consumer and an employee.

What can you do? The best way to make the best of today’s difficulties is to arm yourself with knowledge.

Tort Law

This law protects people who get harmed because of an action or negligence of another party. Some companies that want to cut costs may get low-quality materials that could be detrimental to your health.

For example, a bakeshop you have been patronizing for its use of coconut flour suddenly started using wheat flour, which could trigger a wheat allergy. If the business had not informed you of this switch, it could be construed as a form of negligence if their baked products make you sick. If this happens, you could consult with a personal injury lawyer to know the liability of the bakeshop. It’s not a good idea to march right in and start accusing the owner. The bakeshop could argue that it didn’t claim to only use coconut flour and that it has no obligation to inform customers of changes in ingredients. A legal professional will help you settle the matter in court.

Parties that can be held liable for this are not limited to businesses. Personal injury could also be a result of negligence on the part of individuals, like homeowners who leave hazardous equipment lying on the sidewalk, and even government agencies that don’t perform their functions responsibly.

Consumer Product Safety Act

Nearly everyone buys and consumes products every day. It is, therefore, necessary to know how you could be protected from business establishments that could try to take advantage.

Several laws have been enacted over the years, but to start you off, you could refer to the Consumer Product Safety Act, August 12, 2011 Version. It incorporates amendments and provisions in relevant laws. The extent of its coverage range from banned hazardous products to safety standards of toys, and even to garage door openers.

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Important Labor Laws

Employees have basic rights pertinent to compensation and work conditions. The two basic Acts that every employee should be well aware of are the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). The FLSA covers provisions on wages, benefits, overtime, allowable working age and other such details. Employees should know this to make sure they are not being taken advantage of.

The OSHA, on the other hand, ensures that precautions are taken by the employers to guarantee the safety of their employees. For example, medical kits should be provided depending on the number of employees. Fire extinguishers, exits and emergency procedures should be in place. And there are a lot more necessities depending on the kind of work done for the company’s operations.

Additionally, it is also best to know the anti-discrimination laws. Whether an employer or employee, you should understand that basic rights are enjoyed by everyone regardless of color, race and age, among others. In the first half of 2020, labor practices discriminating People of Color, especially Blacks, have been brought up after people condemned discriminatory police violence. Anti-racial discrimination groups have also pointed out that Black people have been more likely the ones to lose jobs during the closure of many businesses. It’s not because they opted to hold temporary positions, but because many of them could only access this kind of job.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Civil Rights Act of 1991 are two starting points to know the legal bases for equal rights. A large part of the 1964 Act stems from the discrimination African-Americans suffered. And even after this act, they continued to experience social exclusion. The Act in 1991 added some provisions that limited some employee rights to sue employers for discrimination, but it also introduced the factor of emotional distress. Both Acts are worth understanding even if you are not interested in the history of the United States of America. They are good points of reflection in the evolution of society and how a lot of social systems have come to be in the country.

Sometimes we don’t know that our rights have already been violated because we know nothing about these laws. For laypeople, laws could be boring. But every day, we are governed by these. Laws define our norms. It is best we know how to use them for our safety and not to just have them keep us in check.

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