Understanding Worker’s Rights in North Carolina

Read the article below explaining basic worker’s rights.  Then, answer the reading comprehension questions below the article on a sheet of paper.  When you are finished:

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2.  Type your first name in the first box.

3.  Type your email address or “esl@gmail.com” in the second box.

4.  Type nothing in the third box.

5.  Type your questions in the fourth box.

Minimum Wage

The minimum wage is the smallest amount of money a person can legally receive for working in North Carolina.  The minimum wage in North Carolina is $7.25 per hour.  This means that it is illegal to pay employees less than $7.25 per hour before taxes.

One common exception to this law happens in restaurants.  If a person is working in a job where he or she is earning tips that are expected to result in more than $7.25 per hour total, the employer is not required to pay this amount in addition to tips.  As a result, many restaurant servers earn as little as $2.13 per hour.  This is legal because the server earns a average total of more than $7.25 per hour with tips.

If you are receiving less than minimum wage and your employer owes you more than $50 as a result, you can report this by calling 919‐807‐2796.  The Department of Labor will pursue your money for you for free.  For more information, go to the Department of Labor Website and click “Wage Complaints“.  It is in blue on the left side of the webpage.

Wage Payment

Workers in North Carolina have a right to receive their wages on a regular payday.

Workers must be informed of the dates that they will receive pay.

All workers have the right to know their wage or pay rate, before they receive their paycheck.  Employees have a right to know information about their company’s policy for vacation, sick leave, and any other benefits that the company may or may not choose to offer their employees.

Equal Opportunity

It is illegal for employers to discriminate against workers because of race, religion, gender, national origin, or disability.  Employers are also required to pay the same amount of money to women and men for the same work.  If you think that your employer or a potential employer has discriminated against you because of your race, religion, gender, national origin, or disability, you can make a formal complaint in one of the following ways:

  • Write a letter to The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210
  • Call 1-800-397-6251 (toll-free) or (202) 693-1337.
  • E-mail The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs at OFCCP-Public@dol.gov

If you believe you have been discriminated against, it is important to make a formal complaint immediately because of legal time limits.

For more information, see the Equal Opportunity is the Law Poster.

More Information

This is a list of some of the basic rights that workers in North Carolina have, but workers in North Carolina have many other rights as well.  For additional information about workers rights, go to the Department of Labor Website on the “Legal Affairs” webpage.  The Labor Law Posters on the left side of the webpage explain worker’s rights in more detail.

Reading Comprehension Questions

1.  Name three examples of basic rights that all workers in North Carolina have.

2.  An employee has been working at a factory in North Carolina for six months.  She has been earning one dollar an hour for her work.  She never complained because she believed that this was normal in North Carolina.  Then she learned that the minimum wage in North Carolina is $7.25 per hour.  What should she do?  Is it possible for her to receive the money that her employer should have paid her for the last six months?  Why or why not?

3.  Is it okay for an employer to not give a person a job because of his or her religion?

4.  Is it okay for an employer to not give a person a job because he or she has little or no experience related to the job?

5.  Is it okay for an employer to not give a person a job because of the country that he or she is from?

6.  Many servers in North Carolina earn as little as $2.13 per hour, even though the minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.  Is this legal?  Why or why not?

7.  A man was hired two months ago.  The employer never told him how much money he was going to earn per hour.  He has not received a paycheck for his work.  He does not know when he will receive a paycheck.  When he asks, his employer says he will tell him later.  Is this legal?  Why or why not?  What do you think this man should do?

8.  What are some questions that you have a right to ask when you are hired for a job?  What does an employer need to tell you when he or she offers you a job?

9.  Do you have any questions related to worker’s rights?

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