The answer to your question is certainly 'yes,' and yet I'm not sure exactly how to answer because it's asked in such a loaded way. The word exploitation assumes that the rich try to take advantage of the poor-- as is often true, particularly here in America-- but the Talmud assumes that the opposite will be true as well. The Talmud assumes, for example, that judges might favor the poor in court because they are poor, even if they are wrong. The Talmud also assumes, as a general matter, that most people in their time assumed that the rich deserved their riches, and that the poor had done something wrong (as many people assume today-- there is that famous study, whether it's fully accurate or not, that says that in the US, if you graduate HS, make sure not to have a child until you're married, and work, your chances of being poor are only 2%).
All that being said, there are many rules about employment and servitude that are meant to ensure that the less powerful member of the pair gets a fair shake. Employers are required by Torah law to pay their employee's wages on time; field workers have to be allowed to eat the produce they are harvesting (only while working, and only when actually harvesting, but still...); employers cannot abuse their employees in any way, etc.
To be more specific and more enlightening, we'd have to discuss which area of exploitation is most worrisome, and see how and where Judaism protects against that. In the general terms that you asked, I think the answer is generally yes. Perhaps the best way to note it is that the Talmud saw the laws of slave-ownership (which we today assume to be inherently exploitative) to be so onerous on the owner, that the Talmud says that one who purchases a slave is actually purchasing a master. Employees and other workers come with safeguards, and employers have to be sure to abide and adhere to those if they are to consider themselves Jews in good standing.
We are commanded in Deuteronomy Chapter 15: 7 to care for the poor in your land as it is said: “If there be among you a needy man, […] you shall not harden your heart, nor shut yourhand from your needy brother.” In Leviticus 19:33 we are commanded “When a stranger (ger) resides with you in your land, you shall not wrong him. The ger who dwells with you should be like one of your citizens. ” In Deuteronomy 16:12, we are commanded to establish a justice system: “Judges and police officers you shall place in all your gates, […] and they shall judge the people with righteous justice.” Everybody should be treated and protected equally by the justice system, regardless of their socio-economic status and in Leviticus 24:22 we are taught. “You shall have one law for the stranger and the citizens alike.” All of these Torah ethics and responsiblities highlight Judaism's strong sense of the power imbalance in society based on socieconomic status, demographic difference and biases which many of us hold.
The Torah attempts here to remedy the explotation of all those on the fringes in society. We are reminded 35 times in the Torah of the obligation to care for the stranger, for the outsider to do just as the questioner asked, to protect those who are most vulnerable from those who are most powerful.
Please forgive the late response to this question. I had every intention of filing my few comments on time, but the death of a dear friend and mentor… I trust you understand.
To add to the fine comments of my Orthodox and Conservative colleagues, I would simply applaud and concur in their citations and then hope to add a useful (at least for me) guideline.
Namely, whenever I treat someone as an object, as a thing rather than as a subject, as a sacred reflection of the Holy One then, I suggest, that interaction involves exploitation of the other and a diminishing of the sacred, which is a loss for both of us, and Judaism might insist, for the larger world.
Certainly, employees too often have the experience of being treated as interchangeable parts, as disposable commodities, as things. That is exploitation and it is wrong. But the “thing” is such behavior is not limited to a power relationship of the poor by the wealthy. And while our tradition clearly has much to say about a just society, with a special concern for the most vulnerable among us, it embraces, as well, the notion that all of us deserve the dignity which is our birthright as children of the divine. Hard to do all the time, for sure. Worth doing as much of the time as possible, even more so.
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