Statutory rights are an individual’s legal rights, given to him or her by the local and national ruling government. These are generally designed to protect citizens. They are typically enforced by local law enforcement, and their violation usually carries a penalty of legal prosecution and punishment.
These rights are created by the ruling government of a country through legislation. For example, the statutory rights of the United States are created by the judicial branch of the federal government. They are often based on cultural customs. This means that certain rights bestowed by one country may not be recognized by another.
Statutory rights often apply to aspects of life in which citizens must enter into a contractual agreements with one another. For instance, they are commonly referenced in sales transactions. In this situation, a seller has the right to sell items that he or she owns, but not things that do not belong to him or her. Therefore, an individual who sells something stolen cannot legally transfer ownership to the purchaser, so a car thief cannot legally sell a stolen vehicle.
Conversely, purchasers may reject items that they deem unsatisfactory based on their statutory rights. A purchaser has the right to buy and receive the items he or she expects based on the seller’s descriptions. The goods should also be satisfactory to the purchaser. If the goods sold do not meet these expectations, the buyer can reject them and request a refund from the seller, or repair of the item at no additional charge.
Many businesses post signs that state "this transaction does not affect your statutory rights." With this, the seller is informing buyers that they are not waiving their right to receive quality products simply because they have paid for them. In other words, purchasers still have the ability to exercise their right to a refund for an unsatisfactory item after they have completed a sales transaction.
In many countries, employees and employers also enjoy protection under statutory rights. Employees have the right to be paid for the work they perform. They also have protection from unfair dismissal and from discrimination in the work place. Employers have the right to require employees to complete the work they have agreed to in a written contract.
These rights may also be referred to as civil rights. The term is typically used in reference to the specific violation of statutory rights through discrimination. Discrimination may be based upon race, gender, sexual preference, or other categories defined by local law.