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Question About Job Transfer at Large Corporation
Sep 19, 2005

I am 36 years old and found out I was positive in 1987. Started taking meds a few years ago in 1997 and my health is at this time fairly good, despite GI problems and a nasty heart arrythmia that popped up 2 years ago. I have a good long term relationship with my doc, and I give him partial credit for keeping me going this long. So, for the past 10 years I have been working in IT for a very large financial services corporation in NYC. A few of my immediate managers became aware of my HIV status when my partner passed away in 2003 from AIDS. I sort of blurted out my own health situation in a moment of despair and much to my suprise, I was treated with a great deal of compassion and understanding. However, this year the company moved my job position, along with several other positions, to a new facility in a small town in upstate New York. They call it 'Rebalancing' - an effort to white wash the fact that labor costs are high in NYC and cheaper in upstate. I declined their offer and I have been asked to leave the company at the end of the summer with a small severance package. I'm sure there are great small town HIV doctors out there, but the care and resources available to me in NYC is obviously a big reason to stay put. As it turns out, the company after several months of looking, has not been able to fill most of the positions at the new upstate office, and my position has been 'layed-off' without ever having been filled. I don't want to loose my job here in NYC(and my health insurance) due to a since retired company executives ill conceived plan to lower company expenses using cheaper labor. My question is, if I formally reveal my HIV status to HR, does the ADA protect me from this job move in any way? Specifically, does the ADA protect HIV disabled employees from a relocation that might adversely effect their treatment options and potentially their health?

Response from Ms. Breuer

I'm not a lawyer, but my reading of the ADA is that it doesn't offer you any protection in a situation where the company is making decisions that affect whole groups of people into which you happen to fall. The ADA does not tie an employer's hands to the extent of making it impossible to change the location of an office or function.

I strongly suggest that you take your good experience, your skills, your healthy decision-making (I think you made a good one, given the resources in NYC) and apply all that to a full-throttle job search. The ball has taken a bounce that gave you a choice. You chose well--but that means you have to find a new job. I wish you well and hope you find something even better.

Was this legal of them to bar me from work?

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