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HIV Questions @ Medical Exam
Apr 14, 2004

I have over 15 years experience at a company that was acquired by a larger corp. I have been HIV + for 10 years (symptom-free).

The corp offered me 'conditional employment' upon completion of a medical review. At the corp. medical center, I disclosed my HIV status.

The medical form states 'we are unable to issue a disposition at this time. Please have your Dr contact us for further consideration.' Comments: 'HIV - current status + meds. Any limitations or restrictions?'

I have received a letter rescinding the offer of employment.

How do I determine where the discrimination took place ( med review or HR)?

Response from Ms. Breuer

You must have felt pressured to reveal your status, but you didn't have to. I've keyed this in many times, and I'll key it in many times more: the appropriate, legal question is "Do you have any condition that would prevent you from fulfilling the essential functions of this job" or something to that effect. Yes/No. Your diagnosis is your business.

Now that it's an issue, one that you disclosed, it seems to me that your job is to follow through, keep GREAT notes, check in with an HIV-knowledgeable attorney (just one letter on his/her letterhead about your rights should be enough to derail an inappropriate termination) and coach your doc. Your doc should answer all questions about your condition in terms of your functional limitations--those things that you cannot be expected to do--rather than in terms of your diagnosis.

Discrimination probably hasn't taken place yet in legal terms, though you'll need the attorney for that one. It sounds to me as though they remain open to retaining you. Preventing discrimination is your current job, and a big one, with a 15-year investment at stake! I suggest that you have your doc contact them and insist on a written query about your health status. Ask your doc not to respond to questions on the phone. Then any resulting form should be completed without any mention of your diagnosis. It should refer only to whether there are restrictions on your activities/ functional limitations. And it should go back to the corp with a cover note cc'd to the attorney, identified as such in the cc.

Off to a lawyer! It's not over yet, and you can probably save the job.



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