David Yamada Talks about Human Dignity

David Yamada
David Yamada

David Yamada Talks about Human Dignity

I like to think of David Yamada as a business ethics authority. He comes at the workplace from a different angle but still his subject is business ethics.

He continually asks the questions: What is happening in the workplace. Is it ethical? Can we do better?

I share his concerns.

I recommend his web site and admire the energy of his regular posting.

James Pilant


Making human dignity the centerpiece of American employment law and policy « Minding the Workplace

First, we must remain steadfast and unapologetic in calling for dignity in the workplace, even at the risk of being labeled foolish or naive. . . . In the face of likely criticism and even ridicule, we must make the case, without embarrassment, that workers should not have to check their dignity at the office or factory door.

Second, it is important to understand how we got to this place. The markets and management framework did not achieve dominance overnight or by accident. Its current, enduring incarnation has been the result of careful, patient, and intelligent intellectual spadework and political organizing. . . .

Third, just as the emergence of the markets and management framework was part of a broader political, social, and economic movement, the call for dignity at work cannot be made in a vacuum. . . . [D]enials of dignity occur throughout society, and therefore call for connected rather than atomized responses.

Finally, we must work on crafting messages that persuade the general public and stakeholders in employment relations. . . . [W]e need to translate these ideas into messages that reach people in legislatures, courts, administrative agencies, union halls, board rooms, and the media. This will not be easy, but at stake is nothing less than the well-being of millions of people who work for a living and those who depend on them.

via Making human dignity the centerpiece of American employment law and policy « Minding the Workplace.

From around the web.

From the web site, Workspace Practices.


If you haven’t heard of David Yamada, professor at Suffolk University School of Law, chances are you will some time soon. In addition to his work as a legal professor, he is also the director of the New Workplace Institute, which has a WordPress blog of the same name. Through the institute Professor Yamada raises public and institutional awareness about workplace bullying.

The Workplace Bullying Institute defines bullying as repeated, health-harming mistreatment of the bully’s target. This mistreatment can include verbal abuse; offensive behavior, verbal or non-verbal, that is threatening, humiliating or intimidating; work sabotage which prevents work from being accomplished.

Bullying has particular resonance in Massachusetts, where in 2010 a high-profile case of teenage bullying led 15-year-old Phoebe Prince to commit suicide after sustained harassment by classmates at her high school with little if any intervention by school authorities.

While we know the perils of high school with its particular brand of tormentors, there is another kind — the bully who grew up and moved on from high school and is now a workplace bully. It is this kind of bully that Yamada’s work seeks to defang.

When he first started out, Yamada thought he wanted to practice public-interest law, although he wasn’t quite sure what that involved.  After receiving his JD from New York University School of Law he practiced at the New York Attorney General’s Office and the Legal Aid Society of New York City.