The Human Right to Workplace Safety in a Pandemic


The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unique challenges for immigrant workers many of whom occupy jobs most at risk in the pandemic: heath care, janitorial services, and mass transit. This Article encourages the extension of human rights instruments protecting health and safety in the workplace to all workers, particularly immigrant workers. Garcia analyzes the options available for workers who confront unsafe working conditions under existing law. Expanding the language of “human right” will allow for greater scrutiny of actions taken by the government and employers. Garcia encourages statutory changes to OSHA and the NRLA, test cases, filing complaints under trade agreements, and lodging complaints with the ILO in order to keep all workers safe.


COVID, COVID-19, coronavirus, coronavirus pandemic, pandemic, employment, employee rights, worker, workers, immigrant, immigrant workers, human rights, working conditions, OSHA, Occupational Health and Safety Administration, NLRA, National Labor Relations Act, ILO, International Labor Organization



Ruben J. Garcia (University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law)



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