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Leveraging health capital at the workplace: An examination of health reporting behavior among Latino immigrant restaurant workers in the United States

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  • Gleeson, Shannon

Abstract

This article examines the choices made by a sample of Latino immigrant restaurant workers in regard to their health management, particularly in response to illness and injury. I draw on 33 interviews with kitchen staff employed in the mainstream restaurant industry in San Jose, California, and Houston, Texas, in 2006 and 2007. I argue that workers must consider complex power relationships at work in weighing the advantages of calling in sick, using protective equipment, seeking medical care, or filing a workers’ compensation claim. These decisions implicate direct and opportunity costs, such as risk of job loss and missed opportunities for advancement. Workers consequently leverage their health capital to meet their economic needs, to assert their autonomy at the workplace, and to ultimately reject the stigma of illness and injury.

Suggested Citation

  • Gleeson, Shannon, 2012. "Leveraging health capital at the workplace: An examination of health reporting behavior among Latino immigrant restaurant workers in the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(12), pages 2291-2298.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:75:y:2012:i:12:p:2291-2298
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.08.031
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:aph:ajpbhl:10.2105/ajph.2003.033266_9 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Reich, Adam, 2012. "Disciplined doctors: The electronic medical record and physicians' changing relationship to medical knowledge," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(7), pages 1021-1028.
    3. Pia Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny, 2009. "Do immigrants work in riskier jobs?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 46(3), pages 535-551, August.
    4. repec:aph:ajpbhl:2002:92:9:1421-1429_2 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Holmes, Seth M., 2012. "The clinical gaze in the practice of migrant health: Mexican migrants in the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(6), pages 873-881.
    6. Curtis Breslin, F. & Polzer, Jessica & MacEachen, Ellen & Morrongiello, Barbara & Shannon, Harry, 2007. "Workplace injury or "part of the job"?: Towards a gendered understanding of injuries and complaints among young workers," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(4), pages 782-793, February.
    7. Yu Xie & Margaret Gough, 2011. "Ethnic Enclaves and the Earnings of Immigrants," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 48(4), pages 1293-1315, November.
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