Discrimination in the Workplace

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Discrimination in the Workplace of Individuals Living with
A Disease or Illness

A Case Study
Bailey House

This research paper is a case study focusing on the discrimination of workers living with a disease or illness. I chose this topic based on the need to educate others on the signs of workplace discrimination. Job discrimination in the workplace can effect many people in many different situations. This particular study chooses to focus on those individuals living with a terminal illness. Discrimination in the workplace can occur more frequently than many expect in this advanced society. The history of job discrimination in general is vast and covers many different areas. In America, the history of discrimination in the area of employment options is a sobering one that reaches far beneath the surface of what many want to know about our seemingly "fair" society. Broad prejudices against people with illnesses survive at the threshold of the new millennium. Those prejudices, infecting those familiar and unfamiliar with the severity of functional illnesses determine the way "non-ill" people view and act toward people living and working with illnesses. Many people, however, still fail to recognize the pervasive and damaging nature of "affliction" prejudice. Deep-seated psychological and sociological mechanisms give rise to prejudice against people with illnesses. While some or all of these mechanisms also contribute to discrimination against other minority groups, their operation in the context of illness has unique characteristics that make affliction prejudice extremely difficult to identify and eradicate. Workplace screening for predisposition to illness was championed during the 1930's, as it became clear that some workers exposed to toxins on the job became ill while others did not. Such screening is an increasingly frequent though highly controversial practice in industry today. Screening prior to employment can help individuals avoid jobs that could be hazardous to their health. But testing workers for genetic susceptibility after they become ill could be a way for employers to avoid responsibility for workers' safety and compensation claims, shifting the blame to "genetically predisposed" workers while ignoring workplace hazards.

Bailey House is an organization that was started by West Village area business people, activists and clergy members as a resource center for those living with HIV/AIDS. The initial mission of the organization was to provide housing for those living with the disease in an effort to curb the rate of homelessness among those infected. The extended mission of Bailey House was further carved out after much advancement in medicine had been made to help combat the negatives of the HIV/AIDS disease. The focus shifted to help clients live rather than how to help them prepare to die. After this organization was well established, another tenet of providing for those affected by this disease surfaced, that being job placement. As a result, Bailey House branched out beyond just providing housing for those living with HIV/AIDS. A service heavily relied on by the clients of Bailey House is their job training program which teaches clients interview skills as well as job skills necessary to succeed in the workforce. Along with this training, clients learn life skills, self-sufficiency and skills that complement their desire to want to appear as normal as possible while trying to obtain employment. INVEST NYC is the name of the program geared towards restructuring the lives of those wanting to remain in the workforce while living with a terminal illness. This program offers a wide reach of literacy services, job readiness training, pre-vocational services and job placement assistance. This particular program has become a model nationally for other programs mirrored around the premise of what Bailey House represents. The success rate of this program is phenomenal...
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