Noxious Contracts Lab


Investigating the prevalence of “noxious” employment contracts that oblige workers to accept high-risk working conditions


How many workers must accept high-risk working conditions because they don’t have the money or leverage to walk away from the job? If a worker has no real choice, due to lack of alternative employment options, and must therefore accept extremely high risks, the employment contract may be considered a “noxious” one. The purpose of CPI’s Noxious Contracts Lab, currently in development, is to uncover occupations that are unusually noxious, to monitor trends in these types of employment situations, and to assess which groups are most at risk of noxious employment. In its current project, the lab is examining the degree to which the pandemic brought on a “noxiousness divide” that split the workforce into two camps, with “essential workers” having no choice but to bear increased risk while remote workers were mainly protected from risk.