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Is the contract of employment illiberal?

Collins, Hugh ORCID: 0000-0002-2142-2208 (2018) Is the contract of employment illiberal? In: Collins, Hugh, Lester, Gillian and Mantouvalou, Virginia, (eds.) Philosophical Foundations of Labour Law. Philosophical Foundations of Law. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, 48 - 67. ISBN 9780198825272

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Identification Number: 10.1093/oso/9780198825272.003.0003


The authoritarian character of many work relationships raises the question whether the legal institution of the contract of employment is inherently opposed to liberal values such as support for civil liberties, freedom, and equality before the law. Having analysed the nature of the relation of subordination that lies at the heart of employment relations in terms of practical authority, the chapter argues that there is an inherent tension between the legal structure of employment and guarantees for the exercise of civil liberties and the principle of equality before the law, but that any tension with the value of positive freedom or freedom from domination is contingent on the particular circumstances of the case. Having rebutted an objection to the relevance of liberal values to a moral assessment of a private contractual arrangement such as employment, the chapter concludes by arguing that a prime focus for labour law should be the reduction or elimination of the inherent conflict between the contract of employment and liberal values.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 The Author
Divisions: Law
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2019 14:57
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2021 23:05

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