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Moral Rights in the

Workplace
Chapter Six
Jerry Estenson

Framework
Work is important and a highly
valued human activity because it is
necessary to acquire other central
human goods.
Work and moral rights are connected
because opportunities to work can be
jeopardized by the actions of others.

Rights in the work place


Remember rights cannot be bought, sold, or
forcibly taken away
Legal
Derived from legislation and judicial rulings

Contractual
Negotiated in good faith or a result of a policy
or procedure

Respect owed human beings. This is the


domain of moral rights in the workplace
Freedom
Equality
Autonomy

The rights equation


Greater the rights = Greater the
obligation

Right to work
First definition is
based on employee
requirement to join a
union
This is done to
eliminate free rider
(those who enjoy the
benefit without
contributing)
Collective bargaining
view as way to balance
power in the workplace

Right to work - Macro


Basis for Catholic Church and UN
declaration of work as a human right
Means to an end
Expression of a meaningful human life

Who should provide jobs?


Private Industry
and the free
market
Government
Safety Net

Private Industry
Who should they be required to hire?
How long should they be required to
employ?
At what rate should workers be paid?
What about property rights of
employers?

Government
Employer of Last Resort
Government employment drains from
the public

Safety Net
Unemployment Insurance
Tax Incentives to hire folks on welfare

Rights in the Workplace


Employment at will
Trade off for the elimination of slavery
and indentured servitude
Employee free to quit employer free to
fire for:
Good cause, for no cause, or even for cause
morally wrong.

Changes in the At Will


Doctrine

Never applied to government workers


Civil rights protections
Union activity protections
OSHA whistle blowing
Whistle blowing
Employee handbooks as implied
contracts
Practices such as payment of bonuses
as handled in the past

Termination of employment
Magna Carta doctrine limit the
authority of the King
Due process required
Seen as inefficient

Just cause required


All an attempt to balance power in
the workplace. Employees cannot be
bought and sold.

Participatory Decision
Making
Who has authority
Authority is given with consent of those
governed

McCall Employees should be treated


as autonomous decision makers free
of coercive interference by others.
Human dignity is tied to the ability of
humans to guide their own life and
activities.

Benefits of Participation
Reduces possibility of alienenatation
Reduces burnout
Workers may not have specific
expertise but do have other valuable
knowledge
May appear inefficient but creates a
high degree of buy in and quick
execution

Health and Safety


Who determines the degree of risk a
worker should take?
The individual
Experts
Senior Managers
Government

Who has perfect knowledge?


Who is thinking beyond first
generation solutions to a problem?

Privacy in the workplace


Right to be left alone within a personal zone of
solitude
Right to control information about oneself
Important because it establishes boundaries
Workplace violations
Infringes on personal decisions that are irrelevant
to work contract
Personal information that is irrelevant to work
contract that is collected, stored or used without
consent
Polygraphs, drug tests, surveillance, background
checks, psychological tests

Break Down our options in the


Discussion Case
Right involved
Actors involved
Interest of the actors

Ethical recommendation

What rights are in jeopardy


Urine Test
Commission
payment
Abortion discussion
HIV
Email
Psychological test
Exposure to
hazardous material