Fairness and Wellbeing in the Workplace

The notion that people should be entitled to fair treatment at work commands widespread agreement but how this translates into practice is far more controversial.

There are debates over what the level of employment standards and opportunities for employee voice should be and increasing risks that employment standards will not be enforced, particularly for those on non-standard employment contracts.  This increases challenges in ensuring rights and responsibilities are recognised and that job quality should not be allowed to deteriorate.  

The theme of fair treatment at work focuses on three main areas: 

  1. The extent of inequalities in fair treatment at work, particularly for those with protected characteristics under equality legislation
  2. The relationship between fair treatment at work and health and wellbeing
  3. The challenges of improving fair treatment through interventions whether from new legal measures or through voluntary actions on labour/management standards, organisational capacity building and participative job redesign
two men in workplace meeting

Research strengths 

The WEI builds on and enhances a rich history of research on fairness and wellbeing at work. Examples of research topics include: 

  • Workplace bullying and harassment
  • The impact of change and new technologies
  • Worker safety
  • Workplace diversity
  • Workplace conflict including discrimination
  • Issues of fair treatment when work is outsourced
  • The employment relationship and employment rights with respect to precarious workers and those on zero hours contracts
  • The impact of pressures on public services on  the  organisation of work
  • Employment conditions and stress, health and well-being
  • Gender-pay inequality
  • Intersectionality
  • Work-life balance
  • The role of social dialogue and trade unions