Alex Blaze

Returning to traditional values

Filed By Alex Blaze | June 17, 2010 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Agnes Cybulska, HIV/AIDS, polish

Now here I thought rich people got their money by working harder, smarter, and better than the rest of us.

Agnes Cybulska, who has been in the relatively unregulated housekeeping industry for 19 years, is suing Dana Hammond, the heiress to the Annenberg family, according to The New York Times. Cybulska answered an ad she found on Craigslist posted by an employment agency that called for an "experienced executive Polish housekeeper." Duties included supervising the domestic staff, cleaning, running errands, and caring for Hammond's daughter.

When Cybulska visited Hammond at one of her homes in January, she said Hammond told her the job would not pay the advertised $1,000 per week, but instead $150 daily, for nine hours, without benefits or overtime. In a second interview, according to Cybulska, Hammond demanded that she take and pass an HIV test, something Hammond has required of everyone on her domestic staff.

Hammond said she had recently been tested herself after using a toilet that seemed unsanitary; the statement struck Cybulska as odd. Cybulska then informed the employment agency that Hammond was demanding the test be administered, and soon after, agency executives informed her that she was not right for the position.

This is the end goal of the Republicans' (and many Democrats') agenda: a legal system where whatever rich people do goes, and an economic system that keeps the rest of us from fighting back because accepting employment like this is the only thing that'll keep people from unemployment and poverty (and debtors' prison and death from lack of health care and starvation...).

That was a system the Western world tried, and it was called "feudalism." Liberal democracy was supposed to be the answer to that, but it seems like our ruling class has decided it's tired of that little experiment. They'd like a return to the Dark Ages, please, and please don't make too much noise as you get ready to serve again.

Meanwhile, someone needs to tell Hammond that she can't get HIV through unwashed toilet seats or through the unwashed masses' presence in her home. People who didn't have the good sense to be born into billions of dollars are disgusting and dirty, but for reasons entirely unrelated to HIV/AIDS.

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I'm pretty sure that it's not legal for employers to inquire about one's HIV status, let alone require an HIV test prior to employment.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | June 18, 2010 2:10 AM

Small businesses are usually exempted from such inquiries and housekeeping is a small business (under 50 employees as specified in the Advocate article comments). It is a personal business where an individual is coming in to a family. It was also asked verbally I am sure, and the housekeeper was working through an employment agency PAID BY the potential employer, to screen applicants. Now, it should be added that in addition to salary the prospect for this position would also receive at least one (probably two) meals daily and typically work a six day week.

When I worked on a railroad track crew I had to submit to a physical exam and blood tests prior to being approved for "Union work" in 1971 and I do not see the difference. As child care was involved I presume a tuberculosis test would also be appropriate. Also, this position may well include a "live in" arrangement in which case all meals would be included. If it is $900.00 gross weekly before withholding including room & board that is a lot of money. That too could easily be where the other $100.00 is located. To the individual this is tax free "income in kind."

Of course, all of these communications are verbal aren't they? Alex, everyone knows the difference between "old" and "new" money. There are idiots in both groups, but you need to sue with evidence to prevail. This strikes me as a nuisance lawsuit brought by someone who was not chosen for a position they evidently wanted.

About HIV/AIDS specifically, it's not like Tuberculosis. HIV/AIDS cannot be spread to children by playing with them. It's not airborne. And poeple with HIV still experience an enormous amount of job discrimination. I don't think she's filing suit under the ADA because it may not apply, but, as a moral issue, and possibly under local human rights law, it's terrible that she was asked to take an HIV test as if it had any bearing on her ability to perform the job.

And, of course, the same people saying she shouldn't have recourse for discrimination will be the same people saying that she shouldn't get any government assistance if she actually is HIV-positive. Why can't she just get a job instead of asking for a handout? Why can't she just dip into her trust fund? Obviously she just wants this poorly-compensated job because she's greedy, not because she actually needs it to live.

The fact of the matter is that there is a push from the people with money to move this country back toward the position it was in prior to the Great Depression. They wish to remove all the social safety nets and regulations put in place prior to World War 2 to try to recover the economy largely left in a total state of disarray from the excesses of the hugely rich. The truth is we slid very close to the same point at the end of the Bush Administration which also did whatever they could to undo every regulation made since the time of FDR and since. They buy talking heads on the radio and TV, run FOX News and other media outlets in an attempt to convince people that the country is moving too far to Socialism when they are trying to move it closer toward Fascism all the time by their speeches and removal of all social safety nets. They view those who they keep in poverty by making it impossible for almost anyone to succeed financially as undesirables worthy and useful only as bullet sponges for wars largely to protect and improve business interests for the rich. The same rich who's pockets the politicians have their hands out hoping to catch whatever they can out of. They do not wish equality in this country. They wish to promote a ruling class and a working class society. Sure they may allow some of us to own a small business which they try to suck dry by burdensome taxes on, or allow someone to go to school so that they can progress up the ranks to serve them as doctors or lawyers. However the multi-millionaire elite are by and large controlling the country. They make money regardless of the climate, it is just they wish to make more and the last thing they wish is to pay one cent more than they have to for those of us they view as little better than excess inventory. It is Capitalism running out of control with greed and excess. We are either workers-consumers or dead weight as the rich see it and they can afford to wait us out in most cases. They have their huge homes and can live off money they have for far longer than we can last. The fact is we are caught up in a huge game of Monopoly and many of us drew a card that sends us back to the low class end of town. So much for Traditional Values.