The right to human dignity has been applied to numerous employment issues: loss of reputation, privacy, sexual and psychological harassment.Human dignity has less often been invoked in litigation involving tangible working conditions such as the minimum wage. These questions have traditionally been dealt with by employment legislation rather than human rights law. This article argues that minimum wage issues are also a matter of human dignity. In this respect, the adequacy and sufficiency of minimum wage regulations could be assessed in the light of the right to human dignity. In particular, we will examine minimum wage regulations in Quebec (Canada) with regard to the right to human dignity as laid down in the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.
In order to substantiate the relationship between the minimum wage and human dignity, we intend to make use of comparative constitutional law. We will draw on the interpretation and application of human dignity developed in international law as well as in four jurisdictions: Quebec, Canada, Israel and Germany. Although Quebec and Canadian case law has applied human dignity to work issues, they have not developed its application to tangible working conditions. By comparison, international law, together with Israeli and German law, have developed the tangible dimension of dignity more extensively. These sources of law may help address the lack of attention on the part of the Quebec courts to the tangible dimension of dignity at work. We then turn to the Quebec minimum wage regulations to evaluate their sufficiency and adequacy in the light of the right to human dignity.International Journal of Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations