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Employer asked my satus
Nov 18, 2004

I am in Buffalo NY and just began working for a very large hospital in a clerical position.I am poz 19 years. At the physical, I was given a questionaire. To my amazement, I was asked if I were HIV or AIDS daignosed now or past? Besides the obvious stupidity it seems inapprpropriate if not in violation of health laws. I refused to answer and told them they can't ask. They conferenced and wrangled the issue back and forth. I prevailed with no answer for them and was hired as a temp. I may have sealed my fate but I wanted your opinion. Thanks, D in Buffalo

Response from Ms. Breuer

Dear D in Buffalo, You were absolutely right. I'll bet the clerical staff isn't running around doing invasive procedures, which would be the only reason they could justifiably have for asking a direct question about HIV or hepatitis.

The violation is not of health laws. It's a violation of privacy laws. Your HIV status is not relevant to your performance of your job. You were dealing with rookie recruiters or ethical slackers. If indeed you sealed your fate, your parting gift to them could be encouraging them to remove the question from the physical exam/questionnaire rather than deal with a complaint from the EEOC. If they're not bright enough to choose door #1, then I do encourage you to file an EEOC complaint. The fines for doing stuff like this are stiff, and the misery it causes is completely unnecessary.



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