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Exploring Migrants Employees' 'Rights-Talk' in the British Hospitality Sector
2019, Business and Human Rights Journal, 4(2), pp.287-315
How do migrant employees understand and articulate human rights in the British hospitality sector? This article contributes to the discussion on the translation of human rights responsibility in business by introducing ‘rights-talk’ as an analytical lens to explore and theorize about employees’ situated understanding and uses of human rights as a language and a moral evaluative frame. The analysis highlights the importance of (in)equality in employees’ everyday experience of rights, and points to several disincentives for them to engage with and in rights-talk including social and organizational disrespect, managerial disregard for employees’ claims, and their largely connotative use of human rights language. These insights advance theorizing and open research avenues on the significance of human rights in organizations from a bottom-up perspective, while the inquiry’s micro-level focus enriches business and human rights’ methodological toolbox. The findings are also significant for business human rights responsibility in contexts of heightened anti-immigration discourse and policies.

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