Paying People to Risk Life or Limb

Business Ethics Quarterly 29 (3):295-316 (2019)
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Does the content of a physically dangerous job affect the moral permissibility of hiring for that job? To what extent may employers consider costs in choosing workplace safety measures? Drawing on Kantian ethical theory, this article defends two strong ethical standards of workplace safety. First, the content of a hazardous job does indeed affect the moral permissibility of offering it. Unless employees need hazard pay to meet basic needs, it is permissible to offer a dangerous job only if prospective employees have a reason other than hazard pay to choose this job instead of safer alternatives. Second, employers typically cannot justify omitting expensive safety measures by paying employees more, even if employees prefer higher pay to greater safety. Employers offering dangerous jobs must meet these two standards to avoid treating their employees merely as means.

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Author's Profile

Robert C. Hughes
Rutgers Business School–Newark and New Brunswick

Citations of this work

Business Ethics.Jeffrey Moriarty - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Dangerous Work, Intention, and the Ethics of Hazard Pay.Adam D. Bailey - 2020 - Business Ethics Quarterly 30 (4):591-602.
Business ethics.Alexei Marcoux - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
‘But it’s your job!’ the moral status of jobs and the dilemma of occupational duties.Lisa Herzog & Frauke Schmode - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy.

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References found in this work

The View From Nowhere.Thomas Nagel - 1986 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Moral dimensions: permissibility, meaning, blame.Thomas Scanlon - 2008 - Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Creating the Kingdom of Ends.Christine M. Korsgaard - 1996 - New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press.
The View from Nowhere.Thomas Nagel - 1986 - Behaviorism 15 (1):73-82.
Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals.Immanuel Kant - 1785/2002 - In Practical Philosophy. Cambridge University Press. pp. 37-108.

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