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One of the primary rights granted to healthcare workers is the Equal Pay Act of 1963 that has been enforced by the Department of Labor of the United States…
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Healthcare employees are duly protected by federal and laws that bestow certain privileged rights to these employees. One of the primary rightsgranted to healthcare workers is the Equal Pay Act of 1963 that has been enforced by the Department of Labor of the United States government. This right entitles workers with equal qualification and responsibilities to be granted equal pay without any gender bias (Pozgar, 2012; Legal, Ethical and Safety Issues, n.d). Healthcare workers have also been afforded with the right to refuse certain patient treatments methods if they have conflicting views on the ethical, cultural and religious aspects of the procedure. Such requests to abstain from certain patient treatment strategies are generally reviewed by an ethics committee. A similar right has been afforded to employees in cases involving abortion of fetuses if they consider it to be unethical. A similar right of refusal is also under consideration for pharmacists who can refuse to dispense medications meant for abortions if they deem it to be unethical and against their moral conscience. A caregiver or a nurse also has the right to question the concerned physician regarding the care given to a patient. If the explanation provided by the physician is unsatisfactory the caregiver has the right to take up the matter with a higher authority for further clarification (Pozgar, 2012). The Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides protection against employee discrimination on the basis of sex, age, nationality, race and religion. It also affords protection for workers against sexual harassment within a healthcare facility. The most vulnerable population who are more prone to face sexual harassment in an healthcare setting are nurses who are in many cases exploited by colleagues, physicians or patients for sexual favors in return for employment or which interferes with the working environment of the employee (Pozgar, 2012; Legal, Ethical and Safety Issues, n.d). The EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) has issued guidelines against sexual harassment and also prohibits the creation of a hostile environment by improper sexual conduct. Nurses also have the right to offer appropriate guidance to the patient’s family even if it involves suggestions to change the physician especially in cases of patient negligence (Pozgar, 2012).Every individual working in the healthcare industry is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect by their employers. They must pay heed to the employee’s complaints, problems and concerns brought to their notice. Employees are also entitled to privacy and confidentiality about information concerning their personal lives or health related issues. If the employee finds the organization to be involved in any form of unethical practice unlawful and harmful activities or mismanagement of funds they have the right to report the same to a public entity. They also have the right to report any form of intimidation by their employers and are protected by laws if they are subjected to any form of threats (Pozgar, 2012).
Healthcare employees are also bound to certain responsibilities towards their patients as well as the organization. A primary responsibility is being compassionate and offering the right counseling and advice to their patients. They are also required to listen to their patients’ needs and honor their decisions. Knowledge of intimate personal details of the patients as entered in their health records and communications with their physicians should be maintained confidentially. Following safe practices and guidelines is another primary responsibility of caregivers as it determines the effectiveness of the treatment provided to the patients. They also need to make the right choices without any bias while at the same time adhering to the standards required by their profession. They are also required to maintain proper professional relationship with their co-workers without engaging in any form of unethical or unwarranted behavior. Reporting any form of illegal or unethical conduct by their peers and safeguarding the patient from any harm during their stay at the facility is also an important responsibility of caregivers (Pozgar, 2012).
1. Pozgar, G. (2012). Employee Rights and Responsibilities. Legal aspects of healthcare administration (11th ed.). Sudbury, MA:Jones & Bartlett
2. Legal, Ethical and Safety Issues in the Healthcare Workplace. (n.d). Jones & Bartlett Learning. Retrieved 20 Feb, 2013, from Read More
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