Occupational injustice derives from the concept of occupational justice, which originated in 1997 with social scientists/ occupational therapists Ann Wilcock of Australia and Elizabeth Townsend of Canada.[1] As a particular application of social justice, occupational injustice occurs when a person is denied, excluded from or deprived of opportunity to pursue meaningful occupations or when unchosen occupations are imposed upon them [2][3] thus limiting life satisfaction.[3][4] The construct of occupational rights stems from human rights but focuses on the inherent right of individuals to participate in occupations, construed as their personally meaningful and goal-directed use of time. Through this participation, occupational rights contribute to fulfillment and self-actualization.[2] Groups of people that may be vulnerable to experiencing occupational injustices include cultural, religious, and ethnic minority groups, child labourers, the unemployed, prisoners, persons with substance use disorder,[5] refugees, and/or women.[3]

There are several categories of occupational injustice:

The role of occupational therapists working with this population involves advocating for justice to ensure that the occupational rights of clients are fulfilled.[3][6] More specifically, this includes ensuring that individuals are given equal opportunities to engage in meaningful occupations. Occupational therapists collaborate with their clients to form goals and objectives that give way to social inclusion, and focus on client-centered therapy in order to allow individuals to participate in occupations of their choosing.[6] Advocacy by practitioners and researchers can include funding for the underprivileged, all-inclusive research that encompasses excluded populations, bringing occupational therapy services to developing countries, and conscious advocacy with schools, transportation systems, government, corrections, higher education, and worldwide systems.[2][6]

See also


  1. ^ Stadnyk, Robin L., Townsend, Elizabeth A, & Wilcock, Ann A. (2010). Occupational justice. In Christiansen, C.H. & Townsend, E.A.(Eds). Introduction to Occupation-The Art and Science of Living. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.(pp. 329-358).
  2. ^ a b c d Simó-Algado, S., Mehta, N., Kronenberg, F., Cockburn, L., & Kirsh, B. (2002). Occupational therapy intervention with children survivors of war. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 69(4), 205-217.
  3. ^ a b c d e Whiteford, G. (2000). Occupational deprivation: Global challenge in the new millennium. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 63(5), 200-204.
  4. ^ Hammell, K. R. W., & Iwama, M. K. (2012). Well-being and occupational rights: An imperative for critical occupational therapy. Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 19(5), 385-394.
  5. ^ Alexander, B. K. (2008). The globalisation of addiction: A study in poverty of the spirit. Oxford University Press.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Townsend, E., & Wilcock, A. A. (2004). Occupational justice and client-centred practice: A dialogue in progress. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 71(2), 75-87.