Articles Posted in HIV Discrimination

A complaint of HIV discrimination lodged by a man in Brooklyn, N.Y. who alleged he was denied an opportunity at a city job because of his HIV-positive status, recently received a credible boost when the U.S. attorney in Manhattan took up the cause. The federal government is now suing New York City for discrimination. alone

Ultimately, HIV discrimination is a form of disability discrimination, which is forbidden under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Stigma surrounding HIV and its association with the LGBT community has been difficult to overcome, and as this case shows, it clearly hasn’t been eliminated. We are 30 years into the HIV/ AIDS epidemic and employers are still making hiring/ firing decisions based on misinformation of what it means to live and work with it.

According to The New York Post, plaintiff said he applied for a job as a New York Police Department technician. That was in 2013, and he was given an offer of conditional employment. He then went through a series of background checks and medical tests. It was at that time that he revealed he was HIV-positive, meaning he has been diagnosed with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. At that point, the police department requested additional blood testing. Soon thereafter, plaintiff was told he was medically disqualified from the job because he had HIV low CD4 count. For those who may be unfamiliar, the CD4 cell count is a means of measuring the health of a person who has the HIV virus. If a person has a high count, they are considered fairly healthy. However, a person with a low CD4 count is not considered healthy. Continue reading

For decades, fear spawned widespread discrimination against people with HIV/ AIDS that resulted in sufferers losing their homes, jobs, education opportunities and access to medical and social services. sad

A series of federal protections, beginning with the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and the U.S. Supreme Court case of Bragdon v. Abbot, made discrimination on the basis of HIV/ AIDS unlawful. There is also HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) which protects patients’ privacy.  The U.S. Department of Human Services Office for Civil Rights now offers a clean breakdown of “Your Rights as a Person With HIV Infection or AIDS.”

And yet, it seems HIV/ AIDS discrimination continues to persist, even in 2016. Most recently, it’s been alleged in Arkansas, where the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has launched legal action against the operators of a McDonald’s franchise in a city called Bentonville. There, they allege a worker was fired because of his HIV-positive status.  Continue reading

In addition to personal health consequences, those who have contracted HIV or AIDS may face additional challenges in the workplace including discrimination. Under federal law, discrimination against individuals who have been diagnosed with AIDS is illegal. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employment discrimination based on disability and courts have found that even asymptomatic HIV is protected under this law. Workplace discrimination against HIV/AIDS applicants and employees may take the form of failure to hire, demotion, or termination of employment.

highkeyupcloseThose with AIDS may also face complications related to finding healthcare, a barrier which is addressed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). HIPAA gives AIDS patients with group coverage new protections against discrimination. It makes health care coverage more accessible to small businesses and their employees. After termination, HIV/AIDS patients are entitled to Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 (COBRA), health insurance after their own employment is terminated. For most employees who must cease employment for health related reasons, COBRA benefits extend from 18 to 36 months.

Workers with AIDS may encounter discrimination at any stage of employment. From hiring to seeking paid leave and medical care, through termination or job loss. Those who have suffered from discrimination in the form of adverse employment action, health care denial, or under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), have the right to take action against an unlawful employer. The FMLA allows employees to take leave for serious medical conditions or to care for a loved one who suffers from HIV/AIDS. Those who are eligible are entitled to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave during any 12-month period.

A fast food chain in Texas is the target of a recent federal lawsuit alleging violation of civil rights laws by a manager who refused to hire an applicant who was HIV-positive. fastfoodrestaurant

Our Costa Mesa employment discrimination attorneys know that at its core, this is a disability discrimination case.

It’s deeply unfortunate in this day and age that we are still battling to dispel the myths, fears and stereotypes that surround individuals suffering from HIV/AIDS. There was a time – not so long ago – that discrimination against those suffering from HIV was rampant.