Exploring a Human Rights Approach to 'decent' Digital Work: What happens when Freedom of Association and Expression are Combined?

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This article explores how a human rights approach could assist in the translation of ‘digital work’ to ‘decent work’. In so doing, the ubiquity of the digital in the contemporary world of work is acknowledged, as almost all working arrangements are likely to be affected by new technologies whether directly
or indirectly. In this sense, a human rights approach is appealing as a way in which to overcome the employment status problem, but also to recognise the universal character of the relevance of the digital in working lives. The article examines the pros and cons of a regulatory strategy which relies on human rights protections, as regards access to such issues as algorithmic management and design, utilisation of and generative artificial intelligence (AI), while also considering the effects of changes to location of the workplace. The limitations of strategic human rights litigation are recognised, which must be complemented by other forms of mobilisation to be effective. In particular, the article observes the significance of the ‘right to have rights’ and the potential ‘architectonic’ role played by freedom of association and expression when combined. The article goes on to analyse recent jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights which regards these freedoms of speech and association as mutually reinforcing rather than conflicting, but also places significant constraints on their application. It is suggested that a richer vision of a European human rights approach to digital work would be advisable.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Number of pages18
JournalHungarian Labour Law E-Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2023

Structured keywords

  • Perspectives on Work
  • Centre for Law at Work
  • Human Rights Implementation Centre


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