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Employees see work as more than just money
Workers pour sweat, blood and even dollars for their firms, but many employers treat labor as an impersonal cash-for-labor transaction, a U.S. lawyer says.
Marion Crain, an expert on labor and employment law and professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis, said work law ignores the realities of employer/employee interdependence and mutual investment.
“The employment relationship possesses many attributes that we associate with marriage — emotional and economic investment, interdependence and expectations that the relationship will endure absent bad behavior,” Crain said.
Crain suggested using legal models such as marriage law to more accurately respond to the realities of the employment relationship — especially at termination.
“Marriage law offers a status-based framework designed to recognize and protect investment in relationships characterized by interdependence and investment,” Crain explained.
Considering the potential emotional and financial investment employees make in their employers, it’s time to reform the employment law framework from one that assumes an arm’s-length exchange of labor for dollars to one that recognizes employment as a relationship, Crain said.
“The differences might be as simple as requiring notice and severance pay linked to longevity and/or investment, as radical as recognizing new common law claims based in property rights for workers, or as straightforward as heeding evidence of emotional harm linked to termination and providing compensation for it,” Crain suggested to the Washington University Journal of Law and Policy.
Copyright 2012 by United Press International