Introduction While Human Resource Managers (HRM) and line managers could play a significant role in the prevention of job-related problems and in promotion of early job-continuation, it is not clear wether the chronically ill workers are recognized as a group. Unlike some other groups, distinguished by gender, age or ethnicity, those with chronic illness are less distinct and may not be included in diversity management programs. The aim of this research is to address theory and evidence in literature about the topic, as well as to inquire whether chronic illness of the employees is 'visible' in practice. Methods For desk research, we used a systematic search strategy involving medical, statistical, management, and social science databases (Web of Science, MedLine, Pub Med, Psych Info, etc.). Research results are based on case studies conducted with the managers and HRM of government and commercial organizations between March 2007 and October 2008 and between October 2008 and April 2009. These case studies were based on open interviews and focus group sessions (for human resource departments) which were consequently analyzed using thematical analysis. For group sessions, we used concept mapping to collect information from two groups of HRM professionals and managers. Secondary analysis included thematic and content analysis of 'best practice' organizations carried out by the Dutch organization Gatekeeper. Conclusions We have discovered that the chronically ill employees are largely invisible to HRM practitioners, line managers who do not always have the right instruments for implementation of the European or national frameworks. Most practitioners are unaware of the impact of chronic illness in their organizations and in employees work life.