Structural Discrimination In COVID-19 Workplace Protections
Health Affairs Blog (2020)
8 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2020 Last revised: 30 Jul 2020
Date Written: May 29, 2020
Workers, who are being asked to risk their health by working outside their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, need adequate hazard compensation, safe workplace conditions, and personal protective equipment (PPE). Sadly, this is not happening for many essential workers, such as those working in home health care and in the meat processing industry. These workers are not only being unnecessarily exposed to the virus, but they are also not receiving paid sick leave, unemployment benefits, and affordable health care and childcare. The lack of these protections is due to structural discrimination and has disproportionately disadvantaged women of color and low-wage workers. This leaves them and their families more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection and death. In this context, structural discrimination refers to the ways in which laws are used to advantage those in power, while disadvantaging powerless workers. In the COVID-19 pandemic, the lack of legal protections for many workers is a reflection of structural discrimination.
Keywords: Discrimination, COVID-19, home health care workers, farm workers, law
JEL Classification: i14, I18, I31, K30, K31, K32, K39, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation