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HR Says "Don't Tell!"
Jan 15, 2008

Dear Expert,

I submitted another question regarding ADA/SSA and issues with my current job. Here's another one for you:

My Director of HR has told me repeatedly that I am NOT ALLOWED to discuss my status with anyone other than her. I understand this is to protect me, but she has repeatedly instructed me I am not allowed to tell others about being positive, not even other HR personnel. I don't feel this is right - I should be able to tell whomever I please. It's actually bothering me because I wanted to tell some people and get them to go get tested, but HR is telling me I can't tell anyone. Is this legal/right?



Response from Ms. Breuer

Disclosing HIV status at work is such a terrible idea in most cases that the HR director has turned good advice into what feels like a burdensome order. Legally, the medical info you're not allowed to discuss would be anyone else's medical info, not yours.

Unless you're up for surprising discrimination, always wondering if you missed that promotion because of your skills or your status, feeling as though there's a sign over your work station that says "Ask me any question you can think of about HIV, anytime" and maybe even getting canned for a trumped-up reason by some wildly germ-phobic manager, don't disclose at work. Please. Read some of the other disclosure questions and answers at this site. It's not pretty.

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