Occupational injustice: A critique

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Although the idea of occupational injustice pervades the occupational therapy literature, there has been little scholarly debate concerning this construct or the parameters of the five identified forms of occupational injustice.


The aims of this paper are to highlight conceptual confusions, foreground some inherent questions that have been neither acknowledged nor addressed, and question the theoretical and practical utility of five manifestations of occupational injustice.

Key Issues.

Few theorists have contributed to the occupational injustice literature. Significant definitional confusion exists concerning the five forms of occupational injustice with some forms described as subsets of others. The inherent problems of judging occupational injustice have not been addressed.


If occupational injustice were understood as a violation of occupational rights—human rights to achieve well-being through occupation—many of the problems of identifying a situation of occupational justice or injustice would be resolved. Using the capabilities approach to human rights would facilitate this endeavour.

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