Who has the right to human rights? | Moorepay
November 21, 2023

Who has the right to human rights?

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Human Rights Day is Sunday 10th December 2023

“Consolidating and sustaining human rights culture into the future”

Human rights Day is observed by the international community every year on 10 December. It commemorates the day in 1948 that the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

What is a human right?

Human rights are the basic rights that are based on shared values like dignity, fairness, equality, respect, and independence. These values are defined and protected by law.

“Human rights are rights we have simply because we exist as human beings – they are not granted by any state. These universal rights are inherent to us all, regardless of nationality, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. They range from the most fundamental – the right to life – to those that make life worth living, such as the rights to food, education, work, health, and liberty.”

It’s easy to forget the relevance of the statement above, especially when you are faced with adversity and challenges daily. In the UK, our human rights are protected by the Human Right Act 1998, and this sets out fundamental steps that entitle everyone to be treated fairly and equally. 

Equality in human rights for LGBT+ people vary globally. Many are vulnerable to violent attacks and social isolation. The United Nations has reported that discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation, gender and sex characteristics is contrary to international human rights law. Despite this, over 70 countries criminalise adult same-sex relations. The UK Government commits funds to targeted international LGBT+ rights programmes. However, it has recently faced criticism based on its plans for immigration. 

According to the United Nations and other civil society organisations human rights Violations can include:

  • Violent attacks including physical and mental abuse, kidnap, rape, and murder.
  • Discriminatory laws, including those that criminalise consensual same-sex relationships.
  • Discriminatory curbs on freedom of speech and expression.
  • Discriminatory treatment in a range of everyday settings such as the workplace, education, family homes and healthcare.

Employee Rights UK – Equality Act 2010

In employment law we also have protected characteristics that are protected against discrimination, these are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.

Protection at work

Everyone has the right to work in an environment that’s safe and protected against discrimination. The main points relating to employment rights in the UK include:

  • The right to national minimum pay
  • Protection against unlawful deduction from wages
  • The statuary minimum paid holiday
  • The statuary minimum rest breaks
  • To work no more than 48 hours per week and the choice to opt out of this if you want.
  • Protection against whistle-blowers and unlawful discrimination.
  • Not being treated less favourably if you are part time, working as a fixed term or temporary employee.  

As a worker you also have the right to a private and family life. An employer who discriminates against a gay worker, for example, could be violating that worker’s right to a private life.  Your employer has the right to monitor communications within the workplace as long as you’re aware of the monitoring before it takes place. Monitoring can cover:

  • emails
  • internet access
  • telephone calls
  • data
  • images

You have the right to see any information held about you, such as emails or CCTV footage.

Your right to a private life means you have the right to some privacy in the workplace. You can’t be monitored everywhere. If your employer doesn’t respect this, they’ll be breaching human rights law.

* Further Human Rights laws that may be relevant to the employer’s business:

  • right to equal pay for equal work
  • right to organise and participate in collective bargaining.
  • right to equality at work
  • right to non-discrimination
  • right to just and favourable remuneration
  • abolition of slavery and forced labour
  • right to a safe work environment
  • abolition of child labour
  • right to rest and leisure
  • right to work
  • right to family life expression

* Source taken from a “guide to business and Human Rights” Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Equal Opportunities, Diversity, and Inclusion Policy

Your company should already have a fully comprehensive EDI policy in place, however, should you need any assistance with any employment issue relating to human rights or EDI please speak to our Advice Line team.

This summary is intended for all business owners and employers, who intend to implement EDI policies into their own companies. Moorepay’s Policy Team can assist you with the development of these policies. Please contact the policy team at policy.team@moorepay.co.uk  or by telephone on 0845 073 0240 – option 3 for assistance.

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Stephen Johnson
About the author

Stephen Johnson

Stephen has over 25 years experience in private sector HR and management roles, working as a Manager for over 10 years and eventually moving into the financial services industry. In his current role as an HR Policy Review Consultant he develops, reviews and maintains our clients’ employment documentation. With extensive knowledge of management initiatives and HR disciplines Stephen is commercially focused and supports clients in delivering their business objectives whilst minimising the risk of litigation.