|Being terminated for being an HIV caretaker/spouce.
Mar 13, 2001
Hello. My name is Anita. I live outside Detroit, in Michigan. My husband has been infected with the HIV virus and was diagnosed in June of 1989. We have two beautiful teenagers. My husband receives social security disability, and I work, until recently, when i was let go from my job. I started this job not to long ago, and got along great with everyone. One day a girl that i worked with was asking me questions regarding my family, where i live, stuff like that, and i went on to tell her, the area in which i resided, i spoke of my kids, and told her that i was married. She then asked me, what my husband did for a living, and i told her he use to be in construction, but he isnt working now, and she had asked me why he wasnt working and i told her that he was ill, and then she asked me what was wrong with him, and for that instant second, i did think about lying, but i felt lying would say i'm ashamed, and have something bad to hide, so i told this lady, whom by the way is the boss's mother, that my husband was HIV positive. This woman asked how he got it, and then it was dropped. A few days later, she came to me, and told me she had told her daughter, the boss<not the owner>, that my husband had HIV and didnt want me telling anyone at all, and if someone asks about my husband i was to say nothing.I felt angry, but let it go, i didnt want to make waves. I never had worked WITH the boss, until a few weeks ago, and i had noticed since my boss found out that my husband was ill, that she had started to get very rude with me, snappy, and often finding things to say to make me feel uncomfortable, but again, i let it go, i didnt want to make waves. Well, this day, i worked with the boss, she , as i had anticapated, she asked about my husband saying, "so whats wrong with your husband", and i looked at her, thinken "your mother just got done telling me not to long ago that you didnt want me saying a word about my husbands illenss to anyone", and i looked at her, and said" what do u mean, your mother said she spoke to you", and she said yes" and i dont want you talking to anyone about it, and your not to bring it up at all, if anyone asks dont say he has AIDS". I asked her why she felt this way and she said she just wanted it that way. The rest of this day, and from then on, this boss has made my days hard, depressing, and very hard to handle, with always saying rude comments, and giving me a very hard time. I had called my boss regarding my schedule, it needed to be changed and she had told me when i had first started if i didnt like the shift, to just tell her, so this is what i was doing because this shift was a diffrent shift from which i was normally working. When i spoke to her about it, she was very rude, and told me thats the only reason why she hired me for this one day, and shift, and i asked her nicely if there wasnt another way we could work this out, and she said "well let me call and ask Darleen<this is a girl i worked with> if she minds u worken the later part of the shift, and i'll call you back. Well, she never called me back, and the next day i called and asked if my payroll was there and was informed by another worker that the boss had said that if i wanted my payroll that it was locked up and i had to wait till Monday. FINE. So i called her monday, and asked her why she wanted me to call her and she said i needed to turn in my pass and my print card, and i said i thought u said you'd call me, about a diffrent shift, and she denied it, denied she ever said anything like that at all, which then made it look like i never showed up for work, when she was the one who told me to wait till she called me back. Another girl from work, confided in me, and told me, that the OWNERS son, had told her, that boss, had said, that my husband had AIDS and she didnt want me working there, Which now explains why my boss has done everything in her power to do things to make my life very stressful at work and to make the snide and rude comments she makes. This is a brief description, of what has happened to me, and i thought it was illegal to terminate someone because they were with HIV or were caretakers of someone with HIV.. I called the owner today and asked that he call me, and know one has called me back. I'm out of a job, a job that i worked hard at, and is all i have to support myself, my kids and my husband. I dont no what to do, and i dont no whom to turn to. Any suggestions? Please email me at MyDesire@compuserve.com Thank you... Anita
| Response from Ms. Breuer
Refusing to answer a prying question is not lying. It's keeping your privacy. Next time someone asks you, please answer, "I think it's a good idea to keep my work life and my personal life separate. Don't you?"
Do you have any documentation of this sad story? Of course it's illegal to fire someone for this reason, but it can be hard to prove. If you think you have enough proof and you really want this job, please talk with a lawyer at your local AIDS service center. In the meantime, your workplace desperately needs workplace HIV education. I can put you in touch with a really good trainer in Michigan, someone I've trained myself. Sometimes a lawyer can work out an agreement in which you get your job back AND the company is required to offer AIDS education. Let me know.
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