Introduction to Emotions at Work: The Employment Relationship During an Age of Anxiety

5 Pages Posted: 23 May 2017

See all articles by Rebecca K. Lee

Rebecca K. Lee

Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Date Written: 2015


The Great Recession claimed approximately 8.8 million jobs in the U.S., and in the post-Recession aftermath, the American people’s relationship to work has changed in long-ranging ways. Those who lost their jobs had to deal with the financial and psychic consequences, while those who have jobs face uncertainty and anxiety in the workplace. The difficulties associated with job separation and job insecurity are not only economic – they are also emotional, relational, and personal. Given these ongoing and current concerns, on January 5, 2015, the Labor Relations and Employment Law Section of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) put on a program at the 2015 AALS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. entitled “Emotions at Work: The Employment Relationship During an Age of Anxiety.” This session looked at the emotional aspects of the employment relationship during the present post-recession age, and how employment law or workplace policy should address these matters. Are emotions in the workplace openly recognized and managed, and if so, how? What are the challenges for both employers and employees in understanding the relevance of emotions at work, and the opportunities this raises, especially in times of anxiety? During our session, the panelists addressed this topic in each of their presentations, briefly described in this Introduction.

Keywords: work, emotions, the recession and jobs, job insecurity, work and anxiety, employment relationship

JEL Classification: A14, D21, D63, D81, E24, J00, J01, J08, J21, J60, M50

Suggested Citation

Lee, Rebecca K., Introduction to Emotions at Work: The Employment Relationship During an Age of Anxiety (2015). Employee Rights and Employment Policy Journal, Vol. 19, No. 1, 2015. Available at SSRN:

Rebecca K. Lee (Contact Author)

Thomas Jefferson School of Law ( email )

1155 Island Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
United States
619-961-4268 (Phone)

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