Cornell University

Book Information

A Shameful Business
The Case for Human Rights in the American Workplace
James A. Gross


Cloth, 2010 ISBN: 978-0-8014-4844-7
$ 65.95   £50.50
Paper, 2010 ISBN: 978-0-8014-7644-0
$ 21.95   £16.95

"In a book that confronts the moral choices that U.S. corporations make every day in the treatment of their workers, James A. Gross issues a clarion call for the transformation of the American workplace based on genuine respect for human rights, rather than whatever the economic and regulatory landscape might allow. Gross questions the nation's underlying fabric of values as reflected in its laws and our assumptions about workers and the workplace. Arguing that our market philosophy is incompatible with core principles of human rights, he forces readers to realign the country's labor policies so that they conform with the highest international human rights standards. To make his case, Gross assesses various aspects of U.S. labor relations-freedom of association, racial discrimination, management rights, workplace safety, and human resources-through the lens of internationally accepted human rights principles as standards of judgment. His findings are chilling. "Employers who maintain workplaces that require men and women and sometimes even children to risk their lives and endanger their health and eyes and limbs in order to earn a living are treating human life as cheap and are seeking their own gain through the desecration of human life," Gross argues, and such behavior should be considered as crimes against humanity rather than matters of efficiency, productivity, or morale. By revealing how truly unacceptable management's "best practices" can be when considered as human rights issues, A Shameful Business encourages a bold new vision for workers, whether organized or not, that would signify a radical rethinking of social values and the concept of workplace rights and justice in the courtroom, the boardroom, and on the shop floor. "

About the Author
James A. Gross is Professor of Labor Law at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University. He is editor of Workers' Rights as Human Rights, also from Cornell, and coeditor most recently of Human Rights in Labor and Employment Relations: International and Domestic Perspectives, also available from Cornell.

Subject Areas
Industrial and Labor Relations
Political Science / Human Rights