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Hazard or HardshipCrafting Global Norms on the Right to Refuse Unsafe Work$
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Jeffrey Hilgert

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780801451898

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801451898.001.0001

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The Right to Refuse in International Labor Law

The Right to Refuse in International Labor Law

(p.53) 3 The Right to Refuse in International Labor Law
Hazard or Hardship

Jeffrey Hilgert

Cornell University Press

This chapter argues that international labor and human rights jurisprudence fails to give adequate protection to the right to refuse unsafe work. The right to refuse is not adequately protected through either the freedom of association standards or the occupational safety and health standards. Workers' protest and activism against hazardous work receives limited protection in the global model for national labor policies. The right to refuse faces a very high threshold for securing protection under global occupational safety and health standards. As a result, international labor standards, as a body of worker protection, reinforce the market contours of the modern employment relationship. Unquestioned is a world of employee subservience, undignified but mandatory employer loyalty obligations, and the logic of arbitrary management charges of insubordination and disloyalty.

Keywords:   right to refuse, unsafe work, hazardous work, international labor law, freedom of association, occupational safety, occupational health, worker protection

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