Remember my previous blog about persons with HIV and persons with AIDS being covered by the ADA? When a Florida-based company found out that one of its employee’s family member was HIV-positive, it insisted that she get tested for HIV. When the employee refused, the company made adverse changes to her work schedule and working conditions. Eventually, the company reduced her scheduled hours so much that she was forced to resign. This lawsuit resulted monetary damages & a long list of requirements issued by the EEOC in its settlement agreement with the company.
Employers are reminded that discrimination against a person with a disability, or against someone who is associated with such a person, violates the ADA. Hiring decisions cannot be based on unfounded fears and beliefs about people with HIV/AIDS. Companies need to take proactive and preventative steps to educate themselves and their employees about the ADA and its prohibition against discrimination on the basis of association with people with disabilities, or on the basis of perceived disabilities. If you don’t already have something in place, consider adopting and distribute an anti-harassment and anti-retaliation policy & train employees on the policy annually. All harassment complaints should be reported promptly & steps to alleviate such harassment should be addressed immediately.
This information should not be construed as “legal advice” for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.