Employers could face sanctions for HIV discrimination
Employers, who restrict a person’s right to work, based on their HIV status, could face sanctions under the proposed Occupational Safety and Health bill.
Minister of Labour and Social Security, Derrick Kellier, said the legislation will also seek to make it an offence for a workplace not to have a policy in place addressing HIV.
Kellier said it is imperative that discrimination and stigma against persons with HIV be eliminated, as they pose no harm in the general work environment.
He was speaking at a forum put on by the Labour and Social Security Ministry and the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association this week.
Kellier noted that workers in the food industry in particular face a challenge when it comes to HIV/AIDS.
He said that food handlers, who have HIV, are not a threat to their workmates or to the products that they handle so these persons should not be restricted from carrying out their job.
The Labour and Social Security Minister said the Government is embarking on a rights-based approach in dealing with HIV in the workplace, with the aim of reducing stigma and discrimination; establishing workplace policies and programmes, and promoting HIV prevention and education.
The Occupational Safety and Health bill, which is being drafted, is expected to be passed by April next year.
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