Approximately 36,000 people live with HIV in Pennsylvania. They have the right not to experience discrimination in housing, education, employment, public accommodations, and many other areas. One of the ways that those rights are protected is the Americans With Disabilities Act. Individuals with HIV may face discrimination in getting and holding a job, so these individuals must know their rights.
Employment protection under the Americans With Disabilities Act
The Americans With Disabilities Act protects all individuals working for companies that employ 15 or more individuals. Furthermore, the law covers all public entities, regardless of their size. Therefore, the company can be found to have broken the law if they discriminate in their:
- Job application procedures
- Hiring procedures
- Job assignment training
- All employment-related activities
Civil rights protected by reasonable accommodation
The employer is only required to provide reasonable accommodation for things they know about. Therefore, it is up to the person with HIV to let their employer or potential employer know. If you do not want to tell your boss the exact circumstances, it may be enough to say that you have a condition that requires accommodations under the ADA.
What about the future?
The law is very specific that potential future complications of pre-existing conditions cannot be considered; employers may not make decisions based on if someone may not be able to do the job in the future. No one is promised their health tomorrow, so an employer cannot consider the future when hiring or making promotions.
What about health care costs?
An employer cannot discriminate against an individual with HIV because they fear their health care costs may go up. Additionally, an employer cannot refuse to hire or retain someone because they fear they will be a hazard to the workplace unless a reasonable individual could draw the same conclusion. A lawyer may help make that determination.