This book exposes how inequalities based on class and social background arise from employment practices in the digital age. It considers instances where social media is used in hiring to infiltrate private lives and hide job advertisements based on locality; where algorithms assess socio-economic data to filter candidates; where human interviewers are replaced by artificial intelligence with design that disadvantages users of classed language; and where already vulnerable groups become victims of digitalisation and remote work.
The author examines whether these practices create risks of discrimination based on certain protected attributes, including "social origin" in international labour law and laws in Australia and South Africa, "social condition" and "family status" in laws within Canada, and others. The book proposes essential law reform and improvements to workplace policy.
This chapter provides the foundation knowledge needed to understand discrimination based on class and social background, and subsequent chapters of this book. It provides readers with: an overview of leading class theories, including those of Marx, Weber, Bourdieu, and Durkheim; a discussion of social psychology and discrimination; an analysis of class in Australia, South Africa and Canada; and an explanation of discrimination law concepts, including intersectionality.
This chapter unravels the concept of ‘social origin’ discrimination in conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO). It analyses the reports of ILO supervisory bodies and preparatory works (travaux préparatoires) to aid the interpretation of convention text. It also analyses rules of statutory interpretation in Australia and South Africa to explain the relevance of ILO jurisprudence to interpreting ‘social origin’ in domestic legislation.
This chapter maps the legal landscape in Australia, South Africa, Canada and New Zealand, to investigate whether and the extent to which the law in each country prohibits discrimination based on class and/or social background. It finds that whilst ‘class’ and ‘social background’ are not explicitly listed in legislation as grounds of discrimination, the law in each of these jurisdictions lists other grounds of discrimination which include, or reflect, class and/or factors that go to social background. This chapter analyses the law and legal framework in a number of jurisdictions, including: Australia concerning adverse action and termination of employment based on ‘social origin’, and, discrimination based on ‘social origin’; South Africa concerning discrimination based on ‘social origin’; Quebec, New Brunswick and the Northwest Territories concerning discrimination based on ‘social condition’; Canada and various Canadian provinces concerning discrimination based on ‘family status’; and New Zealand concerning discrimination based on ‘family status’.
This chapter exposes how an employer’s use of social media creates risks of discrimination based on class and social background. This includes risks of ‘social origin’ discrimination in Australian and South African law, risks of ‘family status’ discrimination in Canadian and New Zealand law, and risks of discrimination based on other protected attributes. The chapter examines three practices: (1) cybervetting; (2) job advertisement targeting; and (3) terminating an employee’s employment for social media posts.
This chapter exposes how the rise of platform work (for example, gig work) and the post-pandemic shift to remote work/hybrid work creates disadvantages for already vulnerable workers. The chapter considers how these workers may face disadvantages or discrimination based on their class and/or social background. Intersectionality is also examined.
This chapter examines policy options for employers which may make future workplaces fairer and more equitable. In particular, it considers how the use of CV de-identification or blind recruitment, bias training (with certain qualifications), targeted job advertisements and other strategies may help to enhance socio-economic diversity in workplaces. It also considers how these strategies can be used as alternatives to the existing use of certain recruitment algorithms and artificial intelligence by employers.
This chapter exposes how an employer’s use of automated job candidate screening technologies (algorithms and artificial intelligence) creates risks of discrimination based on class and social background. This includes risks of ‘social origin’ discrimination in Australian and South African law. The chapter examines three recruitment tools: (1) contextual recruitment systems (CRS); (2) Hiretech such as Asynchronous Video Interviewing (AVI); and (3) gamification.