Employment Discrimination and HIV

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it has filed two employment discrimination lawsuits based on an employee’s HIV status. The two lawsuits were filed in Texas federal courts and allege that Texas-based employers were in violation of federal law by engaging in disability-related discrimination based on an employee’s HIV status.

The first case of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Granite Mesa Health Center LTD. was filed after a nursing home dismissed an employee because the employee hesitated to provide the employer with an HIV test in order to continue his employment. In September 2013 the employer required a medical examination and made inquiries into the nature and severity of the employee’s diagnosis of being HIV-positive. Following the employee’s hesitation to provide a blood test, the employee was sent home and not allowed to work again until he provided the employer with the results. During the suspension, the employee requested a written policy of the medical test requirement. Subsequently, the employee was dismissed from his job.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) an employer may not harass, fire, or form other employment decisions based on a disability that is covered under the act, such as being tested positive for HIV. Furthermore, the ADA prohibits the imposition of requirements of medical examinations that are not consistent with business necessity. The EEOC argues that the discharge had nothing to do with the employee’s ability to complete his job safely, effectively, and completely.

The second case of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Diallo’s Entertainment, Inc. involves an employee who was dismissed from her job at a nightclub for failing to provide documentation as proof she was not HIV-positive. The employer required the employee to provide the documentation after they had claimed that they heard the defendant was HIV-positive from a third party. Along with the EEOC arguing that there are hearsay issues involved with the case, their argument that the requirement could not be implemented because it is not consistent with business necessity is similar to Granite Mesa.

Understanding of the ADA and other employment regulations are important for business owners. If you currently own a business, or are planning to open a business, the attorneys at Blodnick, Fazio & Associates are available to help you with any issue that arises from the employer-employee relationship such as employment discrimination concerns so that you may concentrate on building a successful business. Contact the experienced business law attorneys at Blodnick, Fazio & Associates by calling (516) 280-7150.

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