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American Samoa

Employee Rights and Protections

Explore workers' rights and legal protections in American Samoa


In American Samoa, employers have broad discretion to terminate employment, but it must be for lawful reasons. Common lawful grounds for termination include poor performance, misconduct, and economic reasons. Poor performance refers to consistently failing to meet job expectations, not fulfilling work duties, or general incompetence. Misconduct involves violations of workplace policies, insubordination, theft, or other unacceptable behavior. Economic reasons can include downsizing, layoffs, or other financial justifications that necessitate a reduction in the workforce.

Notice Requirements

American Samoa does not have any general statutory requirement for employers to give employees advance notice of termination. However, an employment contract may stipulate a notice period.

Severance Pay

There is no legal requirement in American Samoa mandating that employers provide severance pay to terminated employees. However, some employers may offer severance packages as a matter of company policy or as part of a negotiated termination agreement.

Additional Considerations

If an employment contract exists, the terms of that contract will govern the termination process. Contracts may include specific notice periods, severance pay provisions, and limitations on the employer's ability to terminate employment. Government employees in American Samoa are covered by the Civil Service Rules, which provide additional procedural protections and due process rights before termination (American Samoa Code Annotated Title 7, Chapter 8).


In American Samoa, anti-discrimination laws are in place to protect individuals from unfair treatment in employment and other areas based on specific characteristics.

Protected Characteristics

The anti-discrimination laws in American Samoa cover the following protected characteristics:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex (including sexual orientation, gender identity, and pregnancy)
  • National origin
  • Age (40 and over)
  • Disability
  • Genetic information

Redress Mechanisms

If you believe you have experienced discrimination based on a protected characteristic, you have several options:

  • Internal Complaint: Many employers have internal grievance procedures to address discrimination. Consult your company's policies for details.
  • Administrative Complaint: You can file a complaint with the American Samoa Department of Human Resources (ASDHR). The ASDHR investigates and attempts to resolve discrimination complaints.
  • Lawsuit: You may file a lawsuit in court alleging a violation of anti-discrimination laws.

Employer Responsibilities

Employers in American Samoa have legal responsibilities to prevent and address discrimination in the workplace. These responsibilities include:

  • Non-Discrimination Policies: Implementing clear policies in the employee handbook that prohibit discrimination and harassment based on the protected characteristics.
  • Training: Providing regular training to employees and managers on anti-discrimination laws and fostering a workplace free from discrimination.
  • Complaint Procedures: Establishing a process for employees to report discrimination or harassment concerns and ensuring prompt investigation and appropriate action.
  • No Retaliation: Protecting employees who complain about discrimination or participate in investigations from retaliation.

Working conditions

In American Samoa, many working condition standards follow the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), with some local variations.

Work Hours

  • Standard Work Week: There's no legal definition of a standard work week in American Samoa. However, typical workweeks are often 40 hours, similar to the FLSA standard.
  • Overtime Regulations: The FLSA applies to American Samoa, mandating overtime pay for any hours worked over 40 in a workweek at a rate of not less than time and one-half the regular rate of pay. There are no legal limits on the total number of hours an employer can require an employee to work as long as overtime is paid accordingly.

Rest Periods

  • Daily Breaks: The FLSA doesn't mandate specific daily break periods for adult workers. However, some employers may provide breaks as a matter of policy or based on industry standards.
  • Weekly Breaks: American Samoa follows the FLSA, which doesn't require a specific number of days off per week. However, employees typically receive at least one day of rest per week.

Ergonomic Requirements

There are no specific territorial regulations regarding ergonomics in American Samoa. However, employers have a general duty to provide a safe workplace under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) standards incorporated by reference in American Samoan law. This includes protecting employees from workplace hazards that may lead to musculoskeletal disorders.

Additional Considerations

  • American Samoa has a minimum wage that increases incrementally every three years until reaching parity with the federal minimum wage in the mainland United States.
  • There are no statutory requirements for paid leave in American Samoa. Paid leave policies may vary by employer.

Health and safety

In American Samoa, a combination of federal regulations and local standards are in place to ensure safe and healthy workplaces. This involves a set of obligations for employers, rights for employees, and the involvement of enforcement agencies.

Employer Obligations

Employers in American Samoa are generally required to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards that are likely to cause serious physical harm. This obligation is derived from the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) standards, which are incorporated into American Samoan law. The specific obligations of employers include:

  • Providing a Safe Work Environment: Employers are required to identify and address workplace hazards. This involves implementing engineering controls, safe work practices, and providing personal protective equipment (PPE) as necessary.
  • Hazard Communication: Employers must train workers on potential hazards, safe work procedures, and the proper use of PPE.
  • Recordkeeping: Employers are required to maintain records of work-related injuries and illnesses.

Employee Rights

Employees in American Samoa have the right to a safe workplace and specific rights under OSHA standards:

  • Right to a Safe Workplace: Employees can refuse to perform tasks they believe have a reasonable certainty of causing death or serious physical harm.
  • Right to File Complaints: Employees can report unsafe working conditions to the appropriate enforcement agency without fear of retaliation.
  • Right to Request Inspections: Employees can request a workplace safety and health inspection by contacting the enforcement agency.

Enforcement Agencies

The primary enforcement agency for workplace health and safety regulations in American Samoa is the American Samoa Department of Health, Environmental Health & Safety Section. This department conducts workplace inspections, investigates complaints, and enforces health and safety standards.

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