Structural Discrimination In COVID-19 Workplace Protections

8 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2020 Last revised: 30 Jul 2020

See all articles by Ruqaiijah Yearby

Ruqaiijah Yearby

Saint Louis University - School of Law

Seema Mohapatra

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Date Written: May 29, 2020

Abstract

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

Yearby, Ruqaiijah and Mohapatra, Seema, Structural Discrimination In COVID-19 Workplace Protections (May 29, 2020). Health Affairs Blog (2020), Saint Louis U. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2020-09, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law Research Paper No. 2020-9, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3614092 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3614092

Ruqaiijah Yearby (Contact Author)

Saint Louis University - School of Law ( email )

100 N. Tucker Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63101
United States
314.977.3326 (Phone)

Seema Mohapatra

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law ( email )

530 West New York Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
152
Abstract Views
914
rank
215,382
PlumX Metrics