The Right to Work in the European Convention on Human Rights
University of Ulster - Transitional Justice Institute
March 7, 2012
European Human Rights Law Review, No. 2, 2012, pp 176-190
The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) does not explicitly protect the right to work; nevertheless the case law of the European Court of Human Rights protects aspects of this right. This article summarizes the content of the right to work and demonstrates how the case law protects elements of it. Article 8 can be used to protect the right to seek employment, while arts. 6 and 8 can be used to combat unfair dismissal. Other ECHR articles prohibit discrimination. The article concludes with some suggestions as to how to develop this trend in the case law. First, art. 8 should be recognized as protecting the negative aspects of the right to work. Secondly, the relationship between arts. 8 and 14 needs clarification. Finally, there is scope to develop positive obligations in relation to the right to work.
Keywords: human rights, social and economic rights, right to work
JEL Classification: K33
Date posted: March 8, 2012 ; Last revised: May 13, 2012
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