Workers rights part time


Graphics by Raagni Krishna Devaki

Many high schoolers take on part-time jobs or internships to gain experience in the workplace before fully participating in the world. However, due to their limited knowledge and experience, teens are vulnerable to exploitation in the workplace. As about 30% of all teenagers between the ages of 16-19 are part of the workforce, it is important for them to be educated about their rights prior to entering this environment. 

It can be difficult to notice the signs of exploitation in the workplace as a teenager with no prior experience and knowledge of what a job entails. 

“When you’re in a position, when you’re working you don’t really realize if someone is exploiting you,” FHS senior Desiree Allemanche said. “You don’t really realize that when you’re in the moment because we don’t really learn about ways you can be exploited at work. It can be hard to tell [when you start off].”

According to a study conducted by Psychology Professor Lindsay Dhanani, about 34% of all employees experience mistreatment. Mistreatment appears in many forms such as payment below livable wage, overworking, discrimination and wrongful termination in the workplace. Teens work in tough conditions, unaware that their rights as a worker are being violated. Some continue working in these situations in an attempt to impress their employers with their work ethic.

Part-timers are often also underprepared by their employees for all aspects of the job, causing a lot of work injuries and unnecessary distress. Allemanche recounts an event with a disruptive customer at her job where the employees, including herself, were unprepared to handle such a situation.

“It was just very stressful for me and my other coworkers and I wish that my managers had reached out to me to ask me about what happened,” Allemanche said. “He didn’t realize [the extent of what happened] and I just wish that he had reached out to me first and asked me exactly what happened.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control over 350 employees under the age of 25 died due to workplace accidents in 2020. 

“So I think one thing [employers] can improve on is definitely reaching out to the employees and making sure that they’re safe, and they know what to do when customers like that [come] into the store,” Allemanche said.