Justice at Work
15 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2019
Date Written: November 13, 2019
Theories of justice suitable for ordinary market transactions are not appropriate in the special context of work, because they must confront the challenges of the subordination of employees and the risk of commodification of workers by treating them like things or machines. It is argued that the legal protection of fundamental or human rights provide the robust guarantees that are required to protect people against abuses of power in relations of subordination and their focus on values that respect everyone’s dignity and humanity combats the dangers of commodification. The strategy of securing justice at work by protecting human rights in the workplace, even in private businesses, has become possible in Europe as a result of four developments in the legislation of the European Union and the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights. These developments concern the application of discrimination law to employment, the positive duty placed on states to protect human rights, the restriction on contract terms that limit protection of human rights by reference to a test of proportionality, and most recently the development of a broad protection against unjust dismissal.
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