Edited by Gary Craig
Chapter 28: Social justice and employment
An employment relationship may be seen as contractual and egalitarian: a task is willingly performed and a reward provided for doing it. Maybe therefore there need be no concern about questions of social justice entering into the relationship. But such relationships are usually not equal: the task is performed because the reward is necessary for the employee’s wellbeing. The subject of social justice and employment is therefore about the extent to which the weaker party, the employee, is protected from exploitation. This means that this chapter needs to deal not only with the issues about the regulation of work but also with the protection of employees from compulsion into work regardless of their capacities or choices, that is exploitation. It overlaps with wider concerns about social protection. One cannot explore the terms within which employment is provided without considering what happens if people lose and/or are unable to obtain work, that is, the issues about the treatment of unemployed people.
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