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Student Labor Laws: Campus Employment and Student Work Rights

The cost of college is rising constantly. Students often need money for rent, food, transportation, and other costs. Because of this, many students choose to work on their college or university campus. Working on campus is convenient. Plus, there is often a wide variety of jobs available that pay a decent hourly wage.

If you are considering student employment, you may be concerned about your rights. Can you be denied a job if you are married or pregnant? Can other workers treat you differently because you are simply a student and not a “real” worker?

The good news is that student work rights are not much different from the employment rights of those who are not students. Despite your age or lack of education, you are still covered under state and federal employment laws. This means that you cannot be denied a job, demoted or fired based on age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, race or religion. A student worker who has a disability or is pregnant is entitled to accommodation so that they can perform the duties of their job.

Types of Student Workers

There are several types of students who are employed on university campuses. There are undergraduate and graduate students, as well as research and teaching assistants. Some students also work on campus to earn credits toward a degree. In any case, a student typically has to be enrolled in a certain number of units at the college before they can work on campus.

Graduate students and teaching assistants are often given higher wages as well as benefits such as housing stipends and medical insurance. However, some students are taken advantage of by schools. They are not treated fairly, as they are forced to work 70-hour weeks, including weekends and holidays.

This likely will change for many students, though. In 2016, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that graduate students who work at private universities as teaching and research assistants are to be considered school employees. This means that they can join unions and receive the same benefits that teachers and administrators enjoy.

Student Rights When Working on Campus

The Department of Labor specifies that colleges and universities limit the number of hours that full-time students can work. Students are allowed to work up to eight hours per day and no more than 20 hours a week when school is in session. During the summer and other times when school is out, students are allowed to work 40 hours per week. Students must be paid at least the federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 an hour.

Contact a New York Employment Discrimination Lawyer

College students are guaranteed many of these same rights as other workers when they engage in on-campus employment. Workers are protected by various laws, whether they are undergraduate or graduate students.

If you are a student worker who feels that your rights have been violated, the experienced New York discrimination lawyers at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. can help. They understand the laws and can advise you of your options if you are facing discrimination. To learn more, call and schedule a free consultation at (800) 240-9269.

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