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Legal Issues for HIV positive person in large company
Aug 1, 2004

My brother has been employed by a large corporation for about five months. He is currently hospitalized with pneumonia and is very ill. He has already been off work for three weeks. They granted him a medical leave of absence we told them of the illness but not about the AIDS disease. We don't know how much longer he'll be hospitalized or when he will be able to return to work. What do we tell them? His health insurance is also provided by the company. Does he have any rights and if so what?

Response from Ms. Franzoi

Since he has worked for the company for less than 12 months, he doesn't have FMLA rights. It appears that he is on leave pursuant to the company's medical leave policy. His leave would be governed by that policy. With repect to medical coverage, his coverage while on leave (typically his cost) will be goverened by the terms of the leave policy. If his employment were to be terminated resulting in his loss of medical coverage, he would have COBRA rights. This would allow him to continue coverage at 102% of the cost for 18 months (29 months at 150% of the cost if he qualfies for Social Security disability within the first 60 days of COBRA). You do not have to disclose the nature of his illness, only provide a doctor's note that states he is not able to work. The company can ask for a second opinion doctor to examine him but it is only to determine if he is able to work or not. Even the second opinion doctor cannot disclose the nature of the illness without your brother's authoriazation.



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