International Human Rights Day, celebrated annually on December 10th, commemorates the day when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948. This declaration serves as a foundational document outlining the fundamental rights and freedoms to which all people are entitled, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, religion, and gender, among other statuses.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes a broad spectrum of rights, encompassing civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights. It sets forth principles such as the right to life, liberty, and security of person; freedom from torture and slavery; freedom of opinion and expression; the right to work and education; and the right to just and favorable conditions of work.
International Human Rights Day and the principles outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights apply to workers in California, as set forth below:
Right to Work (Article 23):
The UDHR recognizes the right to work, including the right to just and favorable conditions of work. In California, this aligns with state labor laws that protect workers from unfair labor practices, establish minimum wage standards, and regulate working hours.
Freedom from Discrimination (Article 2):
The UDHR emphasizes the right to be free from discrimination. In California, workers are protected by state and federal laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, color, national origin, gender, religion, disability, age, and other protected characteristics.
Right to Rest and Leisure (Article 24):
The UDHR acknowledges the right to rest and leisure, highlighting the importance of reasonable working hours and periodic holidays. California labor laws address issues such as overtime pay, meal and rest breaks, and vacation time to promote a healthy work-life balance and in order to allow workers to be properly compensated and rested for the work they do.
Right to Form and Join Trade Unions (Article 23):
The right to form and join trade unions is a fundamental principle in the UDHR. In California, workers have the right to engage in collective bargaining and form or join labor unions to advocate for their rights and negotiate better working conditions.
Right to Social Security (Article 22):
The UDHR recognizes the right to social security. In California, workers benefit from various social security measures, including unemployment insurance, disability insurance, and workers’ compensation, designed to provide financial support during times of need.
Right to Health (Article 25):
The right to health is a key element of the UDHR. In California, workplace safety regulations, health insurance requirements, and provisions for medical leave contribute to ensuring the health and well-being of workers.
International Human Rights Day serves as a reminder that human rights are universal and apply to all individuals, including workers. In California, these principles are integrated into the state’s labor laws and regulations, reflecting a commitment to upholding the dignity, equality, and rights of workers. On this day, it’s an opportunity to reflect on the progress made, address ongoing challenges, and advocate for the protection and promotion of human rights in the workplace.