Reasonable Accommodation and Unreasonable Fears: An AIDS Policy Guide for Human Resource Personnel

By Elkiss, Helen | Human Resource Planning, September 1991 | Go to article overview

Reasonable Accommodation and Unreasonable Fears: An AIDS Policy Guide for Human Resource Personnel


Elkiss, Helen, Human Resource Planning


Executive Summary

As AIDS becomes more prevalent in our society, organizations will find it necessary to develop AIDS-related policies. Human Resource (HR) personnel will have primary responsibility for implementing and overseeing such policies. Increasingly, organizations will incorporate concerns about AIDS into their Employee Assistance Programs (EAP). This article discusses employees' fears (both rational and irrational) about contracting AIDS from co-workers, legal rights of persons with AIDS (PWA), and rights of employees who refuse to work with persons with AIDS (or someone who is HIV positive). Also discussed is organizational policy AIDS, education and training for employees so that they can understand how the disease is and is not transmitted, and the role of the employee assistance professional in counseling and referral for AIDS-related concerns of employees.

Introduction

Fear and ignore associated with the disease AIDS can cause disruption to an organization when an employee with the disease works in close proximity to other employees. A study which surveyed co-worker's reactions to working with persons with AIDS (PWA) found that 66% would be concerned about using the same bathroom, 40% would be concerned about eating in the same cafeteria, and 63% would be concerned about sharing tools or other work equipment (Individual Employment Rights, 1988). HR professionals, especially those working with Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), are ideal individuals in on organization to address these fears and to provide counseling both for employees suffering from fear of AIDS or suffering from the disease itself. This paper provides guidelines for HR personnel to develop an AIDS policy and outlines the role EAP professionals play in that policy.

AIDS first came to medical attention in 1979. According to 1989 figures from the National Commission on Aids, from 1979-89 there were 112,000 reported cases. At the end of the last decade, 65,000 people had died from the disease. Over 500,000 cases are expected in the United States alone by 1993.

Minorities are disproportionately affected by this disease. While Blacks make up 12% of the population and Hispanics 6%, they comprise 24% and 14%, respectively, of AIDS cases. Almost 50% of all persons suffering from AIDS, from newborns to age 29, are black or Hispanic, with 80% of infected newborns in these minority groups (Minter, 1988).

This bleak picture, along with the irrational fears of many employees, requires a proactive response. The responsible organization must provide educational programs on how to prevent contracting the disease and institute a comprehensive AIDS policy before any major controversies arise.

A random survey, taken in 1989 by Crain's Chicago business, asked 1,500 local Chicago businesses how they would react to keeping an employee on the job who had tested positive for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV): 50% said they would allow the person to continue to work as long as he or she showed no symptoms, 38% were unsure of how they would react, and 12% stated they would fire the employee. An astonishing 35% responded that PWA should not be considered handicapped (Oloroso Jr., 1989).

Legal Issues: AIDS as a Handicap

In the employment context, AIDS raises two major questions:

1. What are the legal rights of PWA?

2. What rights do employees have to refuse

to work with a PWA (or someone who is

HIV positive)?

Rehabilitation Act of 1973

PWA are protected by federal and state laws which prohibits discrimination against the handicapped. Federal law prohibits discrimination based on handicap status for those organizations who have federal contracts of $2,500 or more or who receive federal funds. Also, many states have their own laws dealing with handicap discrimination.

Under the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 USC 504), a handicapped person is defined as an employee or applicant who "has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of a person's major life activities" or is regarded as having such an impairment. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Reasonable Accommodation and Unreasonable Fears: An AIDS Policy Guide for Human Resource Personnel
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.