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It's emerged that some employees are hiding their Covid-19 symptoms to avoid stigma and bullying that comes with testing positive for the virus.

A fear of interacting with colleagues who have recovered from coronavirus or who have been exposed to someone with covid-19 may lead to stigmatisation of individuals in the workplace.

Refilwe Moloto spoke to employment relations expert Gawie Cillié about Covid-19 stigma at work.

Bullying is as a consequence of social stigma and social stigma happens when people are labeled or stereotyped or treated differently because of a perceived link to Covid-19.

Gawie Cillié, Lecturer in labour relations and labour law at the Department of Industrial Psychology - Stellenbosch University,

Cillié says it is not the first time we are seeing this type of bullying in South Africa.

When the HIV/AIDS scenario started in South Africa there was also a lot of bullying taking place, so we're talking about a similar phenomenon now.

Gawie Cillié, Lecturer in labour relations and labour law at the Department of Industrial Psychology - Stellenbosch University,

He says the level of stigma being experienced by some people around Covid-19 could be based on a number of factors:

It's a disease that's new to us all and there are more questions than answers.

Gawie Cillié, Lecturer in labour relations and labour law at the Department of Industrial Psychology - Stellenbosch University,

People are afraid of the unknown and it is easy to associate that fear with others, meaning people that are bullied.

Gawie Cillié, Lecturer in labour relations and labour law at the Department of Industrial Psychology - Stellenbosch University,

Cillié says employers have a key role to play in tackling Covid-19-related stigma in the workplace.

They should provide sufficient information on employee's roles and responsibilities and rights, as well as the organisation's role in dealing with any workplace bullying related to Covid-19.

Gawie Cillié, Lecturer in labour relations and labour law at the Department of Industrial Psychology - Stellenbosch University,

What can you do tackle Covid-19 related stigma in the workplace? Click below to find out:

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Dealing with Covid-19 stigma in the workplace

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