Part 1: Interview Questions
This survey consists of two different sets of questions to be put to employers and employees. The first part is employees’ interview questions. The second part is employers’ interview questions. The questions are intended to get opinions of people on the topic of workplace prejudice and discrimination expressed towards the people living with HIV/AIDS. It was decided to conduct the interviews anonymously so as to ascertain the high degree of honesty.
Section 1: Employees’ interview questions
- Sex: Male Female
- How do you feel about telling your employer about your HIV/AIDS status?
- Is it safe to work in close contact with a person living with HIV/AIDS?
- Are you aware of your employment rights?
- Name of organization_________________________________________
Section 2: Employers’ interview questions
- Sex: Male Female
- Should a worker with HIV/AIDS be allowed to continue working?
- Do you think it is safe to work in close contact with a person living with HIV/AIDS?
- Does the organization support policies against prejudice and discrimination?
Part 2: Essay
Prejudice and discrimination in the workplace
There are many causes of prejudice and discrimination in the workplace. Discrimination is an issue that is largely unintended and invisible. HIV/AIDS status can lead to prejudice and discrimination in the workplace. They may be in the form of specific task assignment, informal mentoring, and performance appraisals. Left unchecked, discrimination practices may cause an intimidating and stressful work environment. Moreover, they can interfere with the overall work productivity (Talha 32). Survey showed that the real problem lies in the fact that people with HIV/AIDS status do not always know about their rights as well as the employers are not always willing to obey the non-discriminatory laws.
Different studies show that people with HIV/AIDS status are judged by their workmates and employers; they face isolation and are ridiculed in their workplaces. Besides, people with HIV/AIDS status can be subjected to discriminatory practices that include dismissal or refusal to offer a job. Furthermore, the victims may fear an employer’s negative reaction which may lead to low self-esteem and anxiety syndrome. The majority of questioned said that they are afraid of telling their employers about their status for the fear of losing their jobs. Moreover, uncovering such diagnosis can cause uncomfortable changes in the relationship with their colleagues (Talha 45). Most organizations have recruitment guidelines that discriminate against people living with HIV/AIDS not allowing them to work in public places as well as documenting requirements for compulsory HIV testing. Nonetheless, it is illegal to show prejudice and discriminate on the basis of HIV/AIDS status in the workplace.
Prejudice and discrimination can reduce an employee’s morale and commitment to the job. Discriminatory policies badly influence advancement opportunities and employment potential of people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. Some employers expressed an opinion that such diagnosis is indeed a work place issue since it affects labor productivity and may lead to loss of skills, influence costs for training, hiring, health, and benefits as well as increase the frequency of workplace conflicts.
There are various steps to reduce prejudice and discrimination in the work place on the basis of HIV/AIDS status. The first step would be to try to understand what this sickness is, and, thus, identify problems that may probably occur in the workplace. Action can be taken to reduce and eliminate prejudice and discrimination by employing some effective strategies. Some important strategies include the appraisal of the organizational culture, adapting preventive training, and revising screening and hiring processes (Goosby 32). However, employees living with HIV/AIDS should be allowed to work and get similar treatment as other employees. Prejudice and discrimination should not be a cause of termination of employment contract. Coworkers face no risk of getting infected while doing their work in close contact with those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. Fear of discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS in the workplace is a major concern for many people. Most questioned asserted that they were sure they would be discriminated if their status would be known by employees and employers. However, statistics show that most people have managed to keep their jobs since they have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. Moreover, they have made an effective use of HIV treatment and became well-prepared to contemplate a return to work or study.
According to the interviews conducted, HIV/AIDS also leads to double discrimination due to sexuality, race, and gender differences. People of nontraditional orientation and certain races may be considered as those who are more likely to suffer from such disease than others. Therefore, HIV/AIDS discrimination may be used to legitimize other prejudices.
According to 1995 Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), prejudice and discrimination in the workplace is illegal (Horn 45). However, this does not protect people from the stigma and prejudice in the workplace. The study showed that for the fear of discrimination many HIV/AIDS victims chose to remain silent about their status. There are three types of silence that are often used by people to protect themselves. They are the silence about being positive, the silence of their sexual orientation, and the silence of being on ARV’s treatment. Disclosing of the HIV/AIDS status may lead to the fear of disclosing that an individual is sick and may require extra time off work (Horn 56).
In conclusion, employees should be aware of the discrimination they may face in the workplace and should be able to exercise their rights to protect themselves against such discrimination. Discriminatory practices should be dealt with on the national level. According to Talha, “if the government discriminates against people with HIV, then other sectors will follow” (Talha 32). Situation can be improved introducing tools to ensure that people are well protected against any form of workplace prejudice and discrimination. Moreover, employer and employees should be educated in their rights and responsibilities.