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HIV-infected employees in the Asian hospitality industry

Yap, Matthew and Ineson, Elizabeth M. (2009) HIV-infected employees in the Asian hospitality industry. Journal of service management, 20 (5). pp. 503-520. ISSN 1757-5818

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Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to identify and discuss Asian hospitality and catering (H&C) human resource managers' (HRMs') perceptions of employing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected applicants and examines the treatment of HIV-infected employees in their workplaces. Design/methodology/approach – Primary data are collected from 32 English speaking Asian hospitality managers who responded to a postal questionnaire; 12 of them agree to participate in follow-up telephone interviews. Transformed raw data are analysed using both qualitative and quantitative analytical methods. Findings – Although Asian H&C HRMs are sympathetic to the plight of HIV-infected people, they maintaine that hiring HIV-infected employees incurs increased operating costs. This generally unsubstantiated claim appears to be linked to lack of understanding of the difference between HIV and acquired immune deficiency syndrome. HRMs do not appear to perceive or comprehend any benefits to be generated from hiring HIV-infected employees. Research limitations/implications – The sensitive nature of the topic, exacerbated by the Asian cultural dimension, generates only 32 respondents and, therefore, impacts on the external validity of the study. Practical implications – Asian H&C HRMs are advised to implement the recommendations and guidelines in this paper to avoid lawsuits that can arise as a result of unfair employment or treatment of HIV-infected applicants and employees. Originality/value – This exploratory study provides a platform for the discussion of some sensitive HIV-related issues in an Asian context. It also supplements the sparse literature addressing the contribution of HIV to the discrimination and stigmatisation of hospitality applicants and employees in their workplaces.

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