Moral Rights in the Workplace

Moral Rights in the Workplace

Moral Rights in the Workplace

Moral Rights in the Workplace

Synopsis

This book focuses on the moral problems that arise for people who labor in ordinary places -- factories, schools, mines, stores, and farms. Moral Rights in the Workplace examines problems of freedom and coercion that develop on the job, issues of the right to meaningful work, occupational health and safety, whistleblowing, the right to union organization, unemployment, and the flight of factories, the rights of health care workers, and workers' self-management. Issues of employment discrimination such as comparable worth, seniority, affirmative action, and worksharing that have been given scant attention in other books are also discussed.

Excerpt

This book focuses on moral problems that arise for people who labor in ordinary workplaces, in factories, mines, stores and on farms.

While modern moral philosophers have often cited the plain person's views, they rarely refer to moral issues that develop where plain persons spend an important part of their lives—in the workplace. Yet appeals to moral values are often heard during controversy over workplace policy. In this book, appeals to three such values predominate: (1) freedom, (2) fairness, and (3) the general good.

The first value, freedom, is endorsed both by those who criticize and those who defend the capititalist organization of the workplace. Thus a critic, Kurt Nutting, claims that the employer's right to determine working conditions (which in the United States includes the right to discipline or discharge workers even for discussing their political beliefs) is inherently coercive (chapter 3). By contrast, for libertarian philosophers such as Tibor Machan, the establishment of working conditions by management is the outcome of a free exchange in the marketplace between employers and workers (chapter 2). Thus, according to libertarians, government regulations, such as laws that require a safe and healthful workplace, interfere with the freedom of both employers and workers. Hence, Machan suggests that one should not "be morally concerned with working conditions which are fully" accepted by workers in a "free agreement. . . ."

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