Workplace Fairness is a non-profit advocacy and educational organization that provides information, education and assistance to individual workers and workers rights advocates throughout the US. Founded in 1994 as the National Employee Rights Institute (NIRI), its goal is to promote awareness of workplace issues and advance reform in employment law policies and practices. It also uses its resources to support the work of attorneys and community organizations that provide free legal assistance to low-income workers.
The organization provides workers with information about their rights in the workplace. The information contains tips and strategies for handling termination and other adverse decisions by employers. Workplace Fairness also addresses the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace. It explains what it is and how to report it. There is a detailed FAQ page dealing with these issues on its website, as well as links to related information.
Information about workers’ rights under the federal Family Medical Leave Act is also available from Workplace Fairness. It strongly believes that employers must begin to provide things like paid family leave, more flexible work hours, and telecommuting opportunities. The organization thinks that employers can be best encouraged to do so through laws, government policy, and consumer education on these issues.
Workplace Fairness also provides information and statistics regarding the current state of health care for American workers. It cites a lack of affordable health insurance for many workers and smaller employers. One of its stated goals is to help achieve adequate health care for workers and their families. It believes this is possible through legislation, educating employers and consumers, and advocating joint government-employer efforts for the provision of worker health care.
Educating employers and workers about the rights of undocumented workers is another aspect of Workplace Fairness’ community outreach efforts. The organization cites the fact that many undocumented workers do not know that federal laws regarding pay, workers compensation, and safe working conditions apply to them the same as to other workers. It notes that undocumented workers are twice as likely to be injured on the job. A high percentage of them also report that employers have fired them for complaining about unsafe conditions.
Along with the informational services it provides, Workplace Fairness also publishes the Employee Rights and Employment Policy Journal. Its organizational newsletter addresses current labor market trends as well as court decisions in the area of employee rights. It also has drafted a Workers Bill of Rights™ that it hopes will become law. This document lists nine rights of workers that the advocacy group believes are fundamental to insuring a fair and safe workplace.