Occupational Justice is a term that I was not familiar with. It sounds like it might be related to unemployment. However, when you look a little closer at the definition, occupational justice has several unique parts that make it different from unemployment. (1) It is a right to be able to meet basic needs. Often individuals in communities across America are NOT afforded the right to meet basic needs. Because of their color, religion, sexual orientation or history like being a felon, disability or drug use they are not able to gain employment that pays enough wages to meet their needs. . (2) Opportunities and life chances to reach toward her or his potential. Employers in America today, especially in large organizations are not that interested in the potential of an employee as the need to meet a certain goal in the organization. An example may be if the organization needs a cook or dishwasher for the organization, they may not be interested in providing opportunities for upward movement in the organization because of the low skill set. This is not true for all organizations. The social service industry may suffer from lack of funding to advance low-skilled individuals to positions that may lend opportunity for their staff to reach his or her potential. In some social service agency it is easier to fire a low paying staff and replace with a new low paying staff member than to offer training and opportunities for advancement. (3) So often meaningful occupation is not a choice. The opportunity given is to have a job, even if is low paying it may be. Many individuals in America do NOT have the opportunity to discriminate in their job choices. They often take the first job available to keep food on the table and a roof over the family.
Below is a table that shows examples of what Occupational Injustice may look like.
Even in ancient Egypt, we find occupational injustice. People were made to work and build great buildings for the kings and pharaohs, but were not allowed to work and build a meaningful life for themselves and their families. We see in Exodus 1: 11-14, a reference to the taskmasters afflicting the children of Israel with more burdens. They afflicted them and made them to serve with rigor or harshness.
The Egyptians made their lives bitter with hard bondage. The Pharaoh was so evil that he also wanted to decrease the number of babies being born in Israel, so he wanted all the male babies killed.
These same forms of occupational injustices have continued to affect America into a narrative that many hate talking about. America was built on the backs of slaves. Since the 1800's a mass exodus of African slaves were forced to come to American to make "white" men and their families rich, while they remained as slaves in a new land. The cruel and unparalleled treatment and abuse is part of the American history. Because of those injustices many in America still suffer today. The ancient white supremist mentality coupled with white men in power of land, property, banks, food industry, health care industry and transportation and all forms of economic engine here in America, many still have not truly enjoyed the benefits of occupational justice.
The only true way to rid our nation of this travesty is to begin the restorative justice principals that include acknowledgement of past actions and sins and injsutices, begin to rebuild an infrastructure that includes fair jobs, fair housing, fair education and transportation, quality childcare, food and water for all those in our nation who have suffered from the hands of those in power. Without God there is no resolution. The problem will never be solved without the Lord. With God all things are possible. Matt. 19:26.