Rights and obligations of employees and employers

Rights and obligations of employees and employers

The rights and obligations of employers and employees in Switzerland are regulated by the labor law. Employers are required to respect the rights of employees and take all necessary measures to ensure their protection and well-being. They must also offer fair and equitable working conditions and provide employees with clear and complete information about their tasks, responsibilities, working hours, and remuneration.

On their part, employees are obligated to provide quality work and respect company rules. They must take care of the employer’s equipment and property and perform their work with care and loyalty to the company. Employees are entitled to a fair wage, reasonable working hours, annual vacations, health insurance, and old age insurance. They are also required to protect the company’s business secrets (art. 321a CO).

Health protection and safety at work

In Switzerland, health and safety at work are priorities for both employers and employees. Employees have the right to work in a healthy and safe environment, while employers are obliged to take all necessary measures to prevent accidents and occupational diseases, in accordance with the Federal Law on Accident Insurance (LAA). Employers must assess the health and safety risks to workers and implement appropriate preventative measures, such as arranging facilities and organizing work to avoid health risks and overwork (art. 6 para. 2 LTr). For workers exposed to occupational risks, such as those in the industry or construction sectors, employers must provide personal protective equipment (PPE). Workers are required to collaborate with the employer in implementing health protection measures and to assist in complying with health protection regulations (art. 6 para. 3 LTr). Employers must also provide clear instructions on emergency procedures in case of an accident.
To ensure workers’ safety and health, employers must ensure that they are not forced to consume alcohol or other psychotropic substances during their work, except for exemptions provided by the Federal Council (art. 6 para. 2bis LTr). If an employee finds that working conditions pose dangers to their health or safety, they must immediately inform their employer. If the employer does not take necessary measures to correct the situation, the employee has the right to refuse to work until the working conditions are modified.

Vocational training and equal opportunities

Switzerland places great importance on vocational training and equal opportunities, governed respectively by the Federal Law on Vocational Training (LFPr) and the Federal Law on Equality between Women and Men (LEg). Vocational training is considered an essential element of education and employment, as well as a key pillar of equal opportunities. The Swiss vocational training system is based on a dual model, where apprentices gain practical skills in a company while attending theoretical courses at a vocational school. This allows companies to train their own staff and ensure the long-term quality of their employees.
The law requires all employers to provide vocational training suited to the abilities and skills of their employees, as well as continuing education to maintain and improve their workers’ skills. Employers are also obligated to promote gender equality in terms of employment and access to vocational training.

In Switzerland, equal opportunities are considered a fundamental right, and the LEg requires employers to treat men and women equally in various areas, including hiring, promotion, training, and remuneration. To promote equal opportunities in the vocational training system, measures have been taken, such as quotas to encourage the training of women in traditionally male-dominated fields. Employers are required to comply with legal requirements for equal opportunities and to establish policies and procedures to promote equal opportunities within their company.

Human resources management and disciplinary procedures

Human resources management in Switzerland is a crucial area for businesses, including the management of disciplinary procedures. These procedures are in place to resolve conflicts between employees and the company and can be initiated by an infraction or violation of company rules. Employers are required to respect the rights of employees regarding privacy protection, fair treatment, and personality protection.
Employers also have the obligation to establish disciplinary procedures to address violations of company rules or current regulations. These disciplinary procedures must be fair and equitable, and employees must have the opportunity to defend themselves against the accusations made against them.

Disciplinary sanctions must be proportional to the severity of the violation and must be clearly and precisely stated. Employees must also be informed of their rights and remedies in the case of disciplinary sanctions.

If a professional dispute arises, it is recommended to consult a lawyer specialized in labor law, in order to receive appropriate legal assistance.

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