Share
Explore BrainMass

Workplace Safety and Occupational Safety and Health (OSH)Act

On the one hand, the OSH Act requires that employers provide a safe workplace, free of hazards. On the other hand, there are very real legal and ethical concerns in requiring AIDS tests of employees or potential employees. Discuss this "quagmire" of addressing that OSH Act requirement and employees' rights of workplace safety, versus one's right to privacy and due process. What would you, as an employer, recommend? How do other organizations address this?

Solution Preview

On the one hand, the OSH Act requires that employers provide a safe workplace, free of hazards. On the other hand, there are very real legal and ethical concerns in requiring AIDS tests of employees or potential employees. Discuss this "quagmire" of addressing that OSH Act requirement and employees' rights of workplace safety, versus one's right to privacy and due process. What would you, as an employer, recommend? How do other organizations address this?

When dealing with the issues that are involved with trying to meet OSH requirements and protect employees while also following all other applicable laws that pertain to employees or potential employees who may suffer from HIV, there must be a fundamental understanding by the employer of their rights. This can change from state to state and from industry to industry, however, the core principles of how to manage through HIV are the same.

HIV and AIDS infections occur primarily in people between the ages of 20 and 45 years old (Boomer, 2010). This means that the majority of people living with this disease are working or trying to gain employment, in many cases for small companies or businesses. As an employer, there is a real good chance you will have to deal with this issue; therefore, the first suggestion is to learn the two principle laws that protect individuals who have HIV or AIDS. The two key laws governing this issue are the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (Pereira, 2010). These laws provide strict guidelines to employers that prohibit discrimination by an employer of any employee or potential new hire who you may suspect may have either of these diseases as this is considered discrimination against the disabled (Pereira, 2010).

This issue of discrimination in the workplace was brought to light in the award winning movie "Philadelphia" in which the world's ...

Solution Summary

Under OSH, the right of Co-Workers to have a safe workplace has to be considered also. Federal Laws do allow employees to walk off the job if they feel a real threat exists, however, the overwhelming evidence from the medical community states that HIV and AIDS cannot be transmitted by casual contact. Therefore, employees who try to pursue the "unsafe" working conditions will need to clearly establish why they feel threatened; otherwise, the Federal Law will not protect them from walking off the job to avoid an HIV/AIDS disabled co-worker (Boomer, 2010).

$2.19