Friday, November 14, 2008
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. 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 Enlightenment philosopher John Locke and America's Founding Fathers, to newer fields such as therapeutic jurisprudence and the works of relational psychology theorists Carol Gilligan and Jean Baker Miller. The essay discusses several important employment law issues against the backdrop of this new "dignitarian" framework and closes with ideas about advancing this agenda in the public arena.