Month: March 2013

  • Don’t Hire Smokers?

    Dueling perspective articles in this month’s New England Journal debate whether it is ethical for employers to refuse to hire smokers. Health care employers (including the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which is owned by my employer and the employer of most of the authors) have led the way with these hiring bans. Harald Schmidt, […]

  • Is it OK to let people trade in their employment rights for shares?

    Is it OK to let people trade in their employment rights for shares?

    Last October, the UK Chancellor George Osborne announced a new scheme to allow employees to trade employment rights for shares in their company. The idea is that, in exchange for signing away their rights to unfair dismissal, redundancy pay, and (the right to request) flexible working hours, employees would get a few thousand pounds worth […]

  • How did Kools become Black, and Marlboros White?

    In 1971, a team of ethnographic researchers conducted focus groups with 24 African American young men in Chicago to explore the men’s sense of identity as well as their hopes and frustrations. The authors concluded that although the African American men strived for social and economic success, they were constantly turned away by racism and […]

  • So should we bother with ‘microclasses’?

    Earlier in the year I published two blog posts on ‘microclasses’ – the idea that your specific occupation is an important structuring factor for the social world, beyond its position in a broader class. In this post I look back at the critics of microclasses – both by some of the most senior class sociologists around, […]

  • Is there life after work? The welfare state in a future without jobs

    Peter Frase argues that liberals are wrong to focus on universal employment: “Forget job creation, we need to do more job killing. Cutting the military budget, reining in the financial sector, and dismantling the prison-industrial complex will destroy many jobs. So, too, would a single payer national health care system: the Republican attacks on Obama’s […]