Working as Equal Moral Agents
Legal Theory, Forthcoming
51 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2020 Last revised: 11 Feb 2021
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
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