Employers ensuring no discrimination against people with HIV

Export Indicator

The proportion of formal-sector employers sampled with non-discriminatory policies and non-discriminatory practices in recruitment, advancements and benefits for employees with HIV
What it measures

This indicator measures one small but rather concrete aspect of HIV-related discrimination: discrimination in formal-sector employment. The indicator should be disaggregated to look separately at company policies and at practice.

Method of measurement

A survey is conducted among major formal sector employers, to determine their policies and practices concerning recruits and employees with HIV. At the time of going to press, the protocol was under development, and field testing had not begun. But it is likely that the employer survey will include a specified mix of government, local private sector and multinational employers. Within each company, survey respondents will include union or worker representatives as well as management. The survey seeks to establish the existence of formal policies related to HIV, and to examine the enforcement of those policies. Policies will include those related to recruitment and employment itself – for instance practices related to pre-employment HIV testing or the termination of existing employees found to be infected – as well as policies relating to sickness and death benefits.

Measurement frequency

Condom type: N/A

Education: N/A

Gender: N/A

Geographic location: N/A

HIV status: N/A

Pregnancy status: N/A

Sector: N/A

Service Type: N/A

Target: N/A

Time period: N/A

Type of orphan: N/A

Type/Timing of testing: N/A

Vulnerability status: N/A

Explanation of the numerator
Explanation of the denominator
Strengths and weaknesses

Obviously, practices in formal-sector employment represent just a small fraction of all the situations in which HIV-related discrimination may take place. National AIDS programmes may work to reduce discrimination in different ways in different countries. However discrimination in the workplace will be a concern in virtually every country. National programmes may work directly with employers or workers' unions to reduce discrimination in the workplace, or they may choose to work through the regulatory and legislative environments. In either case, success in reducing the discrimination suffered in employment by HIVpositive individuals should be reflected in this indicator. This is because employer practices are influenced by many things, including the regulatory environment. Where legislation comes into force to protect the rights of people and workers with HIV, or where court rulings change the likelihood that this legislation will be enforced, changes in employer policies and practices are likely to follow. The summary indicator sums up both policy and practice. However it will often be the difference between the two which is of most interest to programme managers. If employer policies become more supportive of HIVpositive employees in response to legislation or other pressure but discriminatory practices do not in fact change, then a shift in emphasis may be needed to ensure enforcement rather than simply existence of non-discriminatory policies. Measurement of discriminatory practice is not straightforward, especially where it is illegal. Many companies will have reasons other than HIV status for the dismissal of an HIV-positive employee, and some of these reasons will be legitimate. Like Policy Indicator 1, this indicator of discrimination will be affected to an extent by the opinions of the individuals responding to the survey, hence the importance of ensuring a mix of respondents from within and outside management. It is worth noting that discrepancies between policy and practice may arise in either direction. A company may have no stated policy on HIV, but may nonetheless ensure that infected employees are not discriminated against in practice. The survey should ascertain whether employers have a policy on other terminal illnesses, and whether policies and practices relating to HIV differ from those relating to other terminal illnesses. The indicator will be affected by which employers and companies are included in the survey. The protocol will determine the broad mix of national and international employers, including those in the public sector. Informed consent from companies will be needed even where the survey takes the form of a selfcompleted anonymous questionnaire. There  may be considerable refusal bias in the measurement of this indicator, with companies that have a poor record less likely to respond than those that do not. It is also possible that the response rate from union or workers’ representatives will differ significantly from that of management. It may be possible to negotiate a “blanket” informed consent for all members of the local chamber of commerce and industry, that would then allow data collectors to approach non-management employees directly. The refusal bias is especially worrying if it changes significantly over time. This may be the case when new legislation is introduced, but before compliance changes.

Further information