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Jan 8, 2002

Can you please tell me if Cook County, Illinois has any employer guidelines or regulations related to bartenders working that have HIV/AIDS? Looking for more of a legal opinion. Could a bar owner, as an employer, be held responsible for permitting or allowing a bartender to work who has HIV or AIDS? Or does this create an atmosphere of increased risk to the community, or patrons, that may not be aware of this condition? Could this possibly submit the barwoner to a civil suit somehow? Are employers mandated by the department of public health or some licensing divisiion to require bartenders to take any type of precautions, etc? Please help me with this question. Thank you.


Response from Ms. Breuer

Most of your questions would need to be answered by someone familiar with the County health regulations for Cook County, IL, but usually, there are no HIV/AIDS restrictions on HIV+ food servers, including bartenders. Employers are not mandated by the dept of public health to require bartenders to do anything that isn't a general requirement of the health laws: handwashing, maintaining a clean bar, etc. Food service employers cannot require prospective employees to take HIV tests. Food service does not transmit HIV. People at risk of acquiring HIV from a bartender would be people having sex with or sharing needles with the bartender.

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