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21. Employee rights


Subject Business and Management
Ethics » Practical (Applied) Ethics

Key-Topics rights

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631201304.2002.00023.x


Does drug testing violate an employee's right to privacy? Should companies be able to fire employees without cause? Is there a right to a safe workplace? All of these questions revolve around the notion of employee rights, one of the most important in business ethics. Much recent legislation has been passed which specifies employees' rights and which regulates working conditions, hiring and firing procedures, harassment and a host of other areas. There has been so much regulation and so many assertions of rights, recently, that some critics bemoan what they see as an unwarranted proliferation of rights. Sometimes, rights seem to be created out of thin air. Opponents of those critics, however, are not concerned about a proliferation of rights, but rather see the articulations of new rights as an inevitable product of a society's concern for preserving and protecting human dignity. Defenders of the expansion of rights follow the lead of Judge Blackstone (1941) who in Book I of his famous Commentaries on the Law , asserts that “The principal aim of society is to protect individuals in the enjoyment of those absolute rights, which were vested in them by the immutable laws of nature, but which could not be preserved in peace, without the mutual assistance and intercourse of social communities. The primary end of human laws is to maintain and regulate these absolute rights of individuals.” ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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