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Employees Rights In The Workplace

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Employees with HIV in the work place

Employees with HIV in the workplace

Employees with HIV have rights in the workplace. We all should be treated with the same respect as anyone else . When rights are violated then we have no system that is working for any of us .

Many employees in the workforce have found that there are six areas that violate employees privacy . The six areas that are most violated are in surveillance, drug testing, workplace searches, background checks, employment physicals, and conversations outside the workplace about other employees . Many employees also find that their personal areas such as purses, and lockers are off limits to searches . (Medquest Communications, 2003).

The employee that is most violated with these rights is the employee that is HIV - positive and is working in the workplace . Employees who are HIV - positive need to be able to prepare themselves to navigate their confidentiality from other employees finding out who they are . This ranges from taking medications on the job, use of leave time, and negotiating reasonable accommodations . (Pfeffer, 2005).

Now, to understand some definitions that the employer and employee need to know are A " reasonable accommodation" this is act on part of the employer ( such as changes to personnel policies, and reallocating non- essential job functions, etc. ) . A " disability" is any physical or mental impairment that presents a substantial limitation to an individual's ability to perform major life activities ( such as walking or seeing, working etc ) . Many courts have held that testing HIV - positive or having AIDS is a disability under the ADA . Employees that are both " qualified" and " disabled " under the ADA then the employer must provide that employee with a reasonable accommodations . (Breuer, 2005-0930).

A person is hired and is HIV - positive working in a hospital, the hiring director is made aware of the person being hired that the new employee is HIV - positive . This person is a certified nursing assistant, a ( CNA ) . Now, certified nursing assistants just helps the nurses who are state certified RNs . Certified nursing assistants take vitals such as blood pressures, take temperatures, change bedding, give baths, run errands for nurses and patients, and do anything that is asked of them . This may also include going into patients rooms that are under quarantine . The hospital can require the HIV - positive employee to wear gloves when caring for the patients, and do effective hand washing after every patient contact . Now, if there is very little risk of exposure, why shouldn't the HIV - positive worker be given the opportunity to have this job ? Is it the right that other workers and patients know that there is a HIV - positive worker among them .

Employers have concerns of hiring HIV- positive employees. These concerns cause employers to make decisions based on whether the individual can perform the work at that present time. Employers often refuse to hire qualified people with HIV because they are afraid of higher insurance costs, workers' compensation or not showing up for work. Because of these reasons employers are more likely to violate either state or federal law if they use a positive HIV test to discriminate against an HIV- positive applicant. ( Goldberg , 1998).

Employers who use mandatory testing must realize this has tremendous human costs that must be compared to the benefits achieved. The news of a positive test can lead to disastrous consequences including suicide. The worker who tests positive for HIV the economic, social, and emotional consequences can be immense. ( Rowbotham, Ellis, 1997).

The number of HIV- positive employees in the workforce is unknown. But the number of people diagnosed in the U.S in the year 2000 was 10,000 people. With the number of people diagnosed in 2000 and died was 4,000 people. Since numbers of mid 1998 people testing, half of people were already testing positive for AIDS in the U.S. When the world wide HIV cases are at 40 million people. The number of people who have AIDS and don't know it are larger than, numbers of people who know they have AIDS and do know it are unknown. ( Elliott, 2001).

According to the ( Occupational Safety Health Act ) OSHA, employers must comply with their standards . OSHA standards tell employers that all employee should keep their hands washed as frequently as needed . And in the case of hospital worker with AIDS, wash hands after each patient contact . Employers can also do there part by giving employees adequate training in blood borne pathogens . Such as jobs that involve bodily fluid contact, need to require wearing gloves and eye protection to protect employees and patient . If bodily fluids such as blood get on the floor, than workers are to take bleach and water to clean it up . This is the most effective way to kill the HIV - AIDS virus . Workers who have cuts on their hands should place bandages over their cuts then place gloves over hands for more added protection .

Employees who have access to medical information, should only give it out to supervisors on a need to know basis with the understanding it is to be kept confidentional . Employees need to learn how to manage their employees by training them properly . Then employers should have no reason to disclose the HIV - positive employee first, without their permission and second, only to inform



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