Criminalizing the Care Work Zone? The Gendered Dynamics of Using Legal and Administrative Strategies to Confront Workplace Violence
For care workers, workplace violence is dealt with in ways that reflect the restructuring of work and the welfare state, and the position of care work in the new, neoliberal, world order. Using literature and data drawn from a larger study of violence, stress, and workload in the social services, this article explores four major legal remedies — the right to refuse dangerous work (administrative), the duty to warn (civil), assault charges (criminal), and criminalizing employer neglect (criminal) — in relation to how these remedies might work within the specific, gendered, context of care work and a workforce that are not well insulated from management retaliation or their own concerns that they are harming marginal and vulnerable clients by breaking the silence around these issues.
workplace violence; care work; restructuring; gender; criminal and administrative remedies
Citation: Social Justice Vol. 32, No. 2 (2005): 132-150.