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Supreme Court Ruling and HIV
Jun 8, 2001

How will the recent court ruling on medications correcting a disability affect HIV disabilities being treated with medications? Im in a situation where I was planning on asking my employer for special accommodations based on the ADA so that I can take my medication as directed to maintain adherence without risking resistance. Specifically, Im on SUSTIVA, I have tried taking it during the day but the side effects are too great that Im unable to concentrate or perform job tasks when working so I take it at bedtime as suggested by the manufacturer to reduce side effects. Sometimes my job requires shift work (graveyard shift) which would intefere with my time schedule severely. Will the ADA protect me in this situation or has the Sumpreme Court NULL and VOIDED previous protections for HIV? Thank you.

Response from Ms. Breuer

What a great question. As I understand it (and I am not a lawyer, so double-check with someone who is if you get any static from your employer), the recent ruling does not affect you. I suggest that you request a note from your physician explaining that your medication for a qualified disability under the ADA may cause side effects that would limit your ability to work varying shifts. Nothing I have read suggests that the recent ruling nullifies your protection.

And, very importantly, you are not asking for a special accommodation. You are asking for a reasonable accommodation. The ADA specifically uses that language. The "special accommodation" language tends to be used by people who resent the ADA for one reason or another. It is not unreasonable for a person managing medication with difficult side effects to ask not to be switched around on shifts. Adherence and avoiding resistance are keeping you alive, so go for it!

Employer's right to know...
nurse disclosing HIV status to contacts

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