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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
SOUTH AFRICA: Plea for Work Security for HIV-Positive
Linda Ensor
September 17, 2007
Business Day (Johannesburg) (09.13.07) - Monday, September 17,

During a recent public hearing on workplace discrimination by Parliament's labor portfolio committee, the AIDS Law Project (ALP) proposed an amendment to the Employment Equity Act that would mandate adopting HIV workplace policies. ALP has also argued against any easing of labor laws regarding disciplinary action and dismissal, saying HIV-positive workers would suffer the most.

ALP said voluntary adoption of HIV policies has had limited success, especially with small- and medium-sized companies. ALP has regularly received complaints about unfair dismissals, unfair discrimination, and mismanagement of HIV-related issues in the workplace, many coming from small companies or individual employers. ALP said HIV-related stigma and discrimination are an issue for many employees of small companies.

According to ALP, many large private-sector employers have active HIV workplace policies but very few smaller employers do. "Many of these small employers do not appear to recognize the need for managing HIV in the workplace," ALP said. It also noted that in larger companies, mistrust between employees and management, inadequate consultation and buy-in from organized labor present obstacles to "up-take of testing and treatment service within the workplace."