Since the condition first entered our national consciousness in the early 1980s, Americans’ perception of individuals living with HIV/AIDS and the resources available to these individuals have progressed tremendously. However, this does not mean that living with HIV/AIDS no longer has its challenges in the workplace. Individuals living with this condition can face employment discrimination and even harassment. Both may be based on outdated attitudes about how the condition is transmitted and the lifestyles of individuals living with it. Some employers may also have concerns about the cost of providing healthcare benefits for individuals with HIV/AIDS. Workplace discrimination based on an individual’s health status is illegal under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. When an individual with HIV/AIDS faces discrimination in their workplace, they have the right to file a discrimination claim.
Examples of HIV/AIDS Discrimination in the Workplace
HIV/AIDS discrimination can look very similar to other types of discrimination. A few examples of HIV/AIDS discrimination in the workplace include:
- Asking an individual to disclose their HIV status during an interview
- Harassing an individual about their HIV status, which can be done by making the individual the target of intrusive questions or repeated jokes, calling the individual names or using insulting language when speaking with them, and spreading rumors about how the individual became infected with HIV
- Denying an individual with HIV/AIDS the right to use benefits like sick time or flexible scheduling that employees with other health conditions are permitted to use
- Refusing to hire or promote an individual with HIV/AIDS or terminating that individual because of their status
What are my rights as an individual living with HIV/AIDS?
As an individual living with HIV/AIDS, you have the same rights that any other individual living with a chronic health condition or disability has in the workplace. This includes the right to request reasonable accommodations to allow you to perform your job duties, such as a work schedule that allows you time to take medication and alterations to your workspace that allow you to work comfortably, such as close proximity to a bathroom, reduced noise and lighting, and an ergonomic chair that reduces sore-causing stress on the body.
You also have the right to refuse to answer any questions about your health and symptoms during an interview. A prospective employer cannot force job applicants to be tested for HIV test as a screening measure. Employers may only require HIV tests for all existing employees if they can justify the test as a way to determine employees’ job capability.
Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Handle HIV/AIDS Discrimination Claims
Any type of discrimination in the workplace is unethical and in many cases, illegal. If you believe you suffered discrimination in your workplace because of your HIV/AIDS status, consider working with our team of experienced Philadelphia discrimination lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. We will pursue compensation for your damages through a workplace discrimination claim. Complete our online form or call our office at 215-569-1999 today to schedule your free consultation in our office. We are located in Philadelphia and represent clients from Pennsylvania and South Jersey.