Working as Equal Moral Agents

Legal Theory, Forthcoming

51 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2020 Last revised: 11 Feb 2021

See all articles by Sabine Tsuruda

Sabine Tsuruda

Queen's University Faculty of Law

Date Written: November 1, 2020


This article develops and advances a liberal ideal of equality for evaluating the lawful scope of employer control over employees. It argues that, in addition to attending to discrimination and bargaining power asymmetries, we should ensure that our laws treat workers as the moral equals of their bosses more broadly—as people with equally weighty claims to exercising agency over their own values and lives. To illustrate, the article explains that employer control over workplace expression can preclude colleagues from communicating with each another as moral equals and can compromise employees’ abilities to exercise agency over their own characters. It then discusses how our agential interests in workplace expression can guide legal reform.

Keywords: workers' rights, equality, liberalism, contract theory, freedom of expression

Suggested Citation

Tsuruda, Sabine, Working as Equal Moral Agents (November 1, 2020). Legal Theory, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: or

Sabine Tsuruda (Contact Author)

Queen's University Faculty of Law ( email )

MacDonald Hall
128 Union Street
Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6 K7L3N6

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