New EEOC Publications on Rights of HIV Positive Applicants and Employees

Dec 7 2015 - Discrimination - HRWatchdog

HIVPositive

The EEOC released these publications on World AIDS Day (Dec 1).

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently released two documents addressing workplace rights for individuals with HIV infection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), including the right to be free from employment discrimination and harassment and the right to reasonable accommodations in the workplace.

  • Living with HIV Infection: Your Legal Rights in the Workplace Under the ADA explains that applicants and employees are protected from employment discrimination and harassment based on HIV infection, and that individuals with HIV infection have a right to reasonable accommodations at work. It also answers questions about the process for obtaining an accommodation; possible accommodations; the privacy rights of people who have HIV infection; the employer’s obligation to keep medical information confidential; and the role of the EEOC in enforcing the rights of people with disabilities.
  • Helping Patients with HIV Infection Who Need Accommodations at Work is a publication for doctors explaining that patients with HIV infection may be able to get reasonable accommodations that help them to stay productive and employed, and provides doctors with instructions on how to support requests for accommodation with medical documentation.

The two publications were issued as an extension of the White House’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS). One of the steps identified by the Strategy is to reduce stigma and eliminate discrimination associated with HIV status and services.

During Fiscal Year 2014 alone, the EEOC resolved almost 200 charges of discrimination based on HIV status, obtaining over $825,000.00 for job applicants and employees with HIV who were unlawfully denied employment and reasonable accommodations.

For instance, in one case, the EEOC filed charges against a nationwide manufacturer and distributor of juice products alleging that the company fired an employee because he was HIV positive. The company will pay $125,000 to settle the disability discrimination lawsuit.

Gail Cecchettini Whaley, CalChamber Employment Law Counsel/Content

CalChamber Members can visit the HR Library’s section on Laws Protecting Employees with Disabilities for more information about disability discrimination protections. Not a member? See how HRCalifornia can help you.

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