UCL Faculty of Laws


Human Rights at Work (LAWS0244)

Human rights are taking an increasingly important role in the workplace. This course investigates the trend. It looks at the implications and the potential of the analysis that frames the issues arising between employers and workers in terms of rights, as well as the challenges. The rights concerned might be constitutional rights or rights found in regional or international documents of human rights. The course is not limited to a particular jurisdiction but some of the central examples discussed are from the European human rights system and UK law. The course examines human rights at work in relation to some illustrative rights e.g. freedom of association, the prohibition of slavery, servitude, forced and compulsory labour, freedom of expression, the right to work, the right to privacy and freedom of religion. The cases have been selected as illustrations of issues that arise in workplace disputes and how attempts to analyse them in terms of rights have been resolved (including, commonly, the rejection or suppression of a rights discourse). The course concludes by examining this approach to employment law from philosophical perspectives.

Module Syllabus

Seminar 1 - Introduction: Solidarity v Human Rights?

Seminar 2 - The Right to Work and Social Rights/The Duty to Work

Seminar 3 – The Prohibition of Slavery, Servitude, Forced and Compulsory Labour: Migrant Workers and Working Prisoners

Seminar 4 – The Right to Organise, Collective Bargaining and Strike

Seminar 5 – The Right to Private Life at Work

Seminar 6 - The Right to Private Life Outside the Workplace

Seminar 7 - The Right to Practice a Religion and Dress Codes

Seminar 8 – The Right to Freedom of Expression

Seminar 9 – The Right to Fair Wages and the Right to Social Security/The Right to Property

Seminar 10 - Theories of Rights in the Workplace

Recommended Materials

Module reading lists and other module materials will be provided via online module pages, available at the beginning of term once students have enrolled.

Preliminary Reading

  • Jay Youngdahl, ‘Solidarity First: Labor Rights are Not the Same as Human Rights’, New Labor Forum (18(1) 31-37 (Winter 2009)

  • Lance Compa, ‘Solidarity And Human Rights: A Response to Youngdahl’, New Labor Forum (18(1) 38-45 (Winter 2009)

Both of the above articles are available at: http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1242&context=articles

Key information

Module details
Credit value:45 credits (450 learning hours)
Convenor:Virginia Mantouvalou
Other Teachers:

Lord Hendy QC

Teaching Delivery:20 x 2-hour weekly lectures, Term One and Two
Who may enrol:LLM students only
Must not be taken with:None
Qualifying module for:

LLM in Human Rights Law

LLM in Jurisprudence and Legal Theory

LLM in Public Law

Practice Assessment:Opportunity for feedback on one optional practice essay
Final Assessment:Controlled Condition Exam (100%)