Under the guidelines issued by the Department of Labor (Advisory No. 95, series 2010), employers and recruiters are prohibited from discriminating against applicants simply based on their Hepatitis B status, from pre- to post employment, from hiring to promotion or assignment.
Rather, a physician’s medical evaluation and recommendations should be considered, along with qualifications for the position, before rejecting or hiring an applicant.
The second concern is the possibility they would transmit the disease in the workplace. While very valid concerns,
HSP has categorized occupations into high, medium- and low-risk, with the first being high-risk jobs that are mostly in the healthcare setting, as well as those with a
The medium-risk category also includes healthcare workers, but those not performing exposure prone procedures or EPP. The final category includes
Further, he added that no documentation has been found to indicate that the Hep B virus is transmissible through the following: a) ordinary workplace activities, b) food preparation, c) coughing and sneezing, d) sharing of utensils and plates, e) sharing lavatory seats, or computers and office supplies. Neither is it transmitted through handshaking, hugging or kissing, using public water fountains, in swimming pools or crowded dining areas.
Policy Statements on HBV testing
- A positive Hepatitis B surface antigen (
HBsAG) result should not be a basis to discriminate, restrict, or disqualify a job applicant from being gainfully employed.
- A Hepatitis B positive applicant should not be declared unfit to work and denied employment without appropriate medical evaluation and counseling.
- Hepatitis B screening in the pre-employment setting should not be made mandatory. Screening should be performed only if applying for occupations at high risk for transmission in the workplace.
Medical clearanceThe final determination of whether an applicant can be accepted or not must be based on a medical clearance to be issued by physicians, and it is with this document where doctors play an important role,
He said the certification must contain the following: the state of the individual’s chronic Hepatitis B infection; the risk of transmission based on the category of occupation; recommendations of employability for the applicant.
It must also state how the
Further, a medical specialist must make clear the potential for employment be it with restrictions or no restrictions based on the HBV status.
Other than the medical certification, the minimum requirements for a confirmed
The practice of Hepatitis B testing started when foreign employers demanded it, based on their labor and health laws, but it was eventually adopted by local employers.
It is best that recruiters and human resource personnel study the labor department guidelines to avoid being accused of discrimination because of HBV. MIMS
Hepatitis ranks as world's leading killer infectious disease