• White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
  • White YouTube Icon
  • White Instagram Icon

Smart workers are


"The reason why I feel very proud to belong to the Heartland Workers Center's leadership group it's because the organization is a place where the rights and values of human beings are respected "
Sandy Tufiño

Workers Rights Core Team member

Workers Rights Program

The Workers Rights Program promotes the Heartland Workers Center mission of educating immigrant and underrepresented workers to empower themselves to become leaders in their workplace and in civic life.  We do this by providing training for workers to know and exercise their rights, and to improve their working conditions through collective action. We refer and support workers to build collective power, including using labor and government agencies to exercise their workplace rights. We organize workers and community partners to advocate for improved labor laws and greater protections for workers. The workers we train, in turn, educate others, to promote and defend their rights.

Are you worried about safety or health at your workplace?
Take a look at our Self-Help: Issues, Checklists, and Agency Directory

Workers Action

If you start a Worker Action, we will guide workers to start a worker committee or campaign at their workplace to engage their co-workers, do a power analysis, and learn their rights. Workers will learn necessary steps to protect themselves from retaliation, and then take action through negotiation or other collective action (petitions, demand letters, press releases, demonstrations, etc.). The goals and strategies will be worker-guided and collaborative.

Workers interested in starting a Worker Action will begin by attending our monthly Know-Your-Rights Orientation training. Check our calendar for the next training! Workers will then be paired with Organizers who will guide them in building their collective strategy. Heartland Workers Center will be there every step of the way with training, samples, and space to organize!

Workers interested in individual legal solutions, like filing an individual wage theft, discrimination, or workplace safety complaint are provided with self-help resources (See Self-Help Below).

Training Calendar

Work Smart! Know Your Rights Orientation

You will need this training before you begin your Worker Action. Learn your rights to organize, including different ways of taking collective action to improve working conditions, and how to avoid retaliation.  Attendees will be encouraged to share what issues brought them there, and encouraged to bring co-workers. They can get questions answered about specific legal issues they are facing, but those are not the focus of the discussion.

Offered in Spanish and English every second Wednesday of the Month.

JUNE 9, 2021 @ 6:00 PM
JULY 14, 2021 @ 6:00 PM

Check our HWC events calendar to find zoom links or times and locations for all Work Smart! Trainings are open to the public! (Click here to go to our Events Calendar)

Request an OSHA Training

health and safety training institute osh

The training institute is designed for small business employers and their employees to help them understand their roles and responsibilities in creating a safe and healthy work environment. Trainings can be customized for workers in several industries including construction, cleaning and general labor.

Training Topics

*General Industry

*Due to COVID-19, these classes will be held virtually via Zoom. With that, a minimum of THREE participants must sign-up (per OSHA standards), must have access to a computer and stable internet service.

Need additional information? Call us at 402.933.6095

Self-Help: Issues, Checklists,

and Agency Directory


Click on the situation that applies to you or use the search bar

Did you know that Nebraska is an “employment-at-will” state?

Summary of Your Rights: In Nebraska, we have what’s called “at-will” employment. That means that unless you have a contract or a union, employers can change your pay, schedule, benefits, or work rules whenever they like as long as they pay the minimum wage and meet minimum workplace standards. Employers can also fire or discipline workers for any reason, or no reason, as long as it isn’t an unlawful reason like discrimination or demanding their rights. And just because your working conditions are legal, it doesn’t mean they are fair! Check out our Worker Actions to find out what you can do. HWC Resources:

  • Employment-at-will - WorkSmart! Video Series

Have you not been paid fully for work you did?

Quick Answer: In Nebraska, you have the right to be paid the minimum wage of $9.00 an hour ($2.13 if you are tipped), plus overtime pay of 1½ times your normal pay for every hour over 40 in one week. You should have regular paydays where you get a pay stub with cash, check, or direct deposit. You do not generally have the right to any breaks unless you work in a factory, or any paid meal times unless you are required to work while you eat. Agency Contact Info: U.S Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division Omaha Office Omaha Regional Office, 222 S. 15th St., Suite 504A 402-221-4682 File A Complaint by calling the Omaha Offices! Nebraska Department of Labor: 402-471-2239 www.dol.nebraska.gov File a Wage Complaint Online by Clicking Here HWC Resources:

  • Employee vs Subcontractor - WorkSmart! Video Series

Have you been treated unfairly or differently from other workers at your workplace?

Quick Answer: Your employer cannot discriminate because of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity or sexual orientation), pregnancy, age (over 40), disability, or marriage status. Employers may not take any actions (e.g. hire, promote, discipline, fire, etc.) or set job conditions (pay, training, benefits, work assignments, etc.) based on these things. Employers cannot allow workplace harassment based on these characteristics. Agency Contact Info: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: 1-800-669-4000 www.eeoc.gov Click here to learn how to file a charge of employment discrimination Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission: 402-595-2028 www.neoc.ne.gov Learn how to file a complaint by clicking Here

Are you worried about safety or health?

Quick Answer: You have the right to a safe and healthy workplace that is kept free of any known hazards. You also have the right to necessary safety training and information in a language you understand. Agency Contact Info: Occupational Safety and Health Administration Omaha Offices: 402-553-017 www.osha.gov Fie a Complaint by Clicking Here HWC Resources:

  • Filing an OSHA complaint is easy - WorkSmart! Video Series

Union and Collective Bargaining?

Quick Answer: You have the right to form or join a union. Employees also have the right to act together without a union to improve their working conditions or protect each other. This includes actions like talking about your pay, hours, and working conditions or taking group actions. Any discouragement or retaliation for engaging in these activities is unlawful. Agency Contact Info: National Labor Relations Board Region 14 Offices: 913-967-3000 www.nlrb.gov Unfair Labor Practice Charge Form HWC Resources:

Need more info or guidance?