Human Dignity and American Employment Law

I’m delighted to inform readers that my latest law review article, “Human Dignity and American Employment Law,” has been published in Volume 43 of the University of Richmond Law Review.  Here is a brief synopsis of what I’m saying in the essay:

For decades, American employment law has been framed by the ideas of the unfettered free market and unilateral management control.  This “markets and management” framework has helped to deliver growing levels of income inequality, job insecurity, and stress at work.  As a counterpoint, this essay argues that human dignity should be our framing perspective for examining and shaping American employment law, building its case around sources ranging from the Enlightenment philosopher John Locke and America’s Founding Fathers, to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and newer fields such as therapeutic jurisprudence, occupational health psychology, and the works of relational psychology theorists Carol Gilligan and Jean Baker Miller.  The essay then examines several important employment law issues against the backdrop of this new “dignitarian” framework, including unions and collective bargaining, job security, and workplace bullying.  It closes with ideas about advancing this agenda in the public arena.

Although I call it an “essay,” it’s actually over 40 pages long, with a strong theoretical focus, so I understand if folks aren’t rushing to download it for bedtime reading!  But I did write it with general readers as well as legal scholars in mind, striving to make the commentary accessible to non-lawyers.  (And if download counts of pre-publication versions posted to the Social Science Research Network are any indication, the article is being well-received.)

The final version of “Human Dignity and American Employment Law” may be downloaded without charge: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1299176.

5 responses

  1. I found your blog through Google alerts for workplace bullying and have been reading your posts. I am also working to promote respect and dignity at work and have a book coming out this month, Road to Respect:Path to Profit (How to Become an Employer of Choice by Building a Respectful Workplace Culture). I would like to download your artice however, the link is unavailable. so this is not so much a post as a request for the article.

    • Hi Erica, I just checked the link and it seems to be fine. You click to the article abstract, then click download, and it comes right up. Thanks for your interest, and good luck with your book.
      -David

  2. Hi David,
    Thank you for this piece. It’s extremely insightful. I agree that workplace laws need to change to accommodate today’s societal and economic needs. I do believe that the monarchy model of the past only worked during an era without the Internet, where seniority in an industry meant more knowledge and knowledge was power.

    I am a victim of workplace bullying and a potential whistleblower on a major Fortune corporation. As I was exhausting and exploring my options, I came across your blog and your paper. Thank you.

  3. Pingback: Today’s Workplace » “Total Worker Health” vs. “Wellness” vs. “Well-Being”: Framing Worker Health Issues

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