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Does the ADA protect promotions for HIV+
Jun 9, 2001

The company I work for knows I am disabled because of my HIV status. I followed my Dr's orders on how to handle this in order to protect myself from being terminated due to the number of sick days I miss. However, can my company use the fact that I take so many sick days due to my disability to prevent me from being promoted within the company? I feel they are holding me at my present entry level position in hopes I will be discouraged and quit. Before I disclosed my condition to my supervisor and the human resources director I was actually encouraged to seek and work toward promotion. Which I did for a while. About three months after my disclosure my supervisor began to ignore my questions about my promotion and future with the company. I also received a very curt letter from the manager of my department responding to questions I had put forth to my supervisor in confidense. The email quite clearly advised me to " start looking for another job" because they would not guarantee me a promotion. A request I never put forth to begin with. What if any protection does the Americans with Disabilities Act give me in this situation. Should I seek legal councel? Thank you for your advice.

Response from Ms. Breuer

Did your doctor advise you to disclose your diagnosis at work, not just the fact that you are being treated for a disability? If so, it was poor advice.

In any case, you'd have a hard time pinning the lack of encouragement about promotion to your disclosure in any court. There is no guarantee under the ADA that your application for promotion would receive any more rational consideration than it would in any other environment. You have a few choices: stick it out because you love the job; find another job and keep your diagnosis to yourself, following the advice you'll find in many of my other answers on this site about disclosing at work so that you're not fired for excessive absences; put all your chips on the table and apply for a promotion in writing, one for which you are fully qualified, and be willing to sue them if they turn you down. Your call. If you choose the third one, work with an attorney familiar with ADA-related discrimination before you start the process and be willing to lose your job over it if the case is not successful.

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