What are Individual Rights?

Definition: An individual right is a person’s freedom to act in a social environment. It can also be defined as any action or behavior that individuals can freely undertake.

What Does Individual Right Mean?

Rights are essential for a society to function properly. They are normally set by laws and enforced by the government. There are many different rights and democracy is the political system that protects basic these rights the most. When basic individual rights, such as the right to vote, to work, to live and to have a family among other fundamental rights, are prohibited or limited by a government the country might not be living under democratic principles.

Under these circumstances, individual rights are normally not guaranteed, unprotected or unenforced, which leads to abuses and harsh living conditions for citizens. Countries with limited individual rights will experience social turmoil and violence more often than democratic countries, since there is social unrest. In the U.S. individual rights are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. In the workplace, individual rights have to be protected when it comes to racial and gender discrimination, equal treatment and basic work conditions, among others.

Example

Mr. Donovan is a Financial Analyst at a financial services firm located in Manhattan. He has been working there for 3 years and his boss told him there is a position available as Head of Financial Research and he is being considered for it. Alongside with Mr. Donovan there are 3 more candidates waiting to be interviewed and assessed to fulfill the position.

After all due processes are completed Mr. Donovan found out he was not selected for the position. He found this strange since he was the person with the most experience and qualifications for the job. He went to his current boss to find out the reason why he was not chosen and his boss told him the company needed someone with white skin color to fulfill the position and given that Mr. Donovan is African-American he couldn’t fulfill that requirement.

This is clearly a violation of a basic individual right as stated in many U.S. federal laws, which impose fair treatment within the workplace. This breach gives Mr. Donovan the right to take legal actions against the company.