Conscientious objection to assigned work tasks: A comment on relations of law and culture

Roger Cotterrell

Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal

This paper considers how far a legal-cultural perspective may help to explain contrasts in approaches, in different jurisdictions, to a particular legal issue addressed by five national reports on which the paper comments. The issue is: how should law respond to employees’ objections, on grounds of conscience, to being required to perform particular work tasks assigned by their employers, or to being required to perform them in particular ways? The national reports discussed relate to Japan, the United States, Germany, Israel and Spain. The paper argues that cultural factors can influence not only law’s response but also the ways in which the issue of conscience is understood, contextualised and legally presented.


Cotterrell R. Conscientious objection to assigned work tasks: A comment on relations of law and culture. Queen Mary University of London, School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 104/2012.  Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal, volume 31 (2010), 511-22