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Employee rights from behind the veil of ignorance

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  1. Introduction
  2. Employee rights from behind the veil of ignorance
  3. An understanding of the workplace
  4. Inequality of power and authority is not indicative of the workplace alone
  5. Establishing a set (or sets) of workplace ethics
    1. Freedom of speech
    2. Privacy
    3. Work
  6. Conclusion
  7. Bibliography

In this paper I intend to create an analogy between the workplace and society in general, so that principles used in determining political and social systems of ethics in the social sphere might be applied to the work place. I will specifically focus in on John Rawls's theory of justice as fairness, as it is explained in his book A Theory of Justice. The reason I have chosen this theory is because of its popularity, inherent quality, and applicability to the workplace setting. It is also a moderately recent work which takes into account many modern social and political concerns. This theory I then apply to three important workplace issues: for the benefit of employees, freedom of speech and employee privacy, and for the benefit of employers, productivity.

[...] According to Rawls, a good way to come to a consensus on workplace ethics and rights is to approach them from behind a veil of ignorance. As it applies to society, a veil of ignorance assumes that the parties do not know certain kinds of particular facts. First of all, no one knows his place in society, his class position or social status; nor does he know his fortune in the distribution of natural assets and abilities, his intelligence and strength, and the like. [...]

[...] Veil of Ignorance The extension of the academic study of ethics and human rights into the workplace is a necessary one. While most academic study seems to exist in the abstract realm of rational moral principles (Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals providing an ideal example of this abstract ethical philosophizing), even that which does extend more or less into practice and common institutions gets applied to the realm of law and politics. This is curious, considering that our jobs as employees or employers probably affect us in day-to-day situations more often than the functioning of the law or complex moral dilemmas which abstract ethical philosophy seeks to provide solutions for. [...]

[...] This will be a great benefit to employees, and in the long run a benefit to employers as well because of the knowledge and information it will impart to them of the thoughts and observations of their employees. Anderrson and Pearson also support this idea, but instead suggest ?human resource hot lines or conflict mediators? (468) to give voice to the expression of opinion and dissent. Privacy. What an employee or employer does in his or her time away from work is private, unless openly shared. [...]

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