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Depressed, Should I get a LAWYER?
Jun 9, 2001

After a recent illness in which I had to miss a couple of weeks, of work back in August, I returned to my job. The doctors ran all sorts of test to determine the illness, including hiv test. All tests came back negative. Upon returning to work I was feeling better, but I had lost quite a bit of weight and was very tired. Being concerned about what was the cause of my illness, I began to research on the internet at my job, this was OK because I did it on my lunch hour, and the company didn't have a problem with that. One day while doing some research, a fellow employee happened approach me while I had the body website up. Well this started a rumor mill, which resulted in a superviser of the company I work for, making suggestions in front of fellow employees about my sexual prefference. They started off mild, a comment about me being tired was responded to by this person "Well if you didn't spend so much time at the Gay 90's, a local gay hotspot, in front of a few co-employees, these comments continued over a period of the next few months and got more offensive. At one point while I was sitting at my desk, open office, he said " You no why blank sits funny, because he takes it up the ass." He even went as far to say the reason I look like shit, was because I had AIDS. He made these comments in front of so many fellow workers, I think people started to treat me different. I came down with a mild cold and another superviser made a comment about weakened immune systems and opertunistic infections to me. People always ask me about my health, and some aviod looking at me. Going to work over the last 2 months has been hell. I have been so depressed it's been hard to get up in the morning. Before this I liked my job, and I tryed my best to be a good employee. Well today I decided to talk to the VP of human resources. I told her the comments this suppervisor had made to me, and she called the supervisor in to talk them over. He never denied making the comments, but said if I didn't like them I should have told him. Well after he said he was wrong for his behavior, he left the office. Never even saying he was sorry. After he left the office, I broke down crying like a baby. I told the VP how this has affected my life, depression, not eating or sleeping, the embarrassment, pain and hurt his comments caused me. To this she asked me why I didn't come to her sooner. I told her I was to embarrased, and feared this supporvised would seek revenge, he is a very intemidating man. I also hoped he would see how I was responding physically to these comments. To me comments like these are so hurtful, it shouldn't have to pointed out to a supervisor, they are wrong. Maybe it's just me, but is telling someone they take it up the ass and have HIV funny? After bringing this whole thing up, I now feel even more uncomfortable and depressed than before, part of the reason I didn't want to bring it up in the first place. I don't no how I'm going to make it in on monday. People at work no something is wrong and they keep asking me what it is. I asked that this employee not talk or look at me, until I feel better. The VP agreed to this and so did the employee, by afternoon he was already talking to me again making me very uncomfortable. Now because of this whole thing the way people treat me has changed. I'm not gay and I don't have HIV, but people at work treat me like I do. The VP ask me why I don't just quite, but why should I have to? What did I do to deserve this? Do you think I have a legitamite case? I'm very sorry about my spelling, and I thank you for taking the time to read and respond.



Response from Ms. Breuer

Take this question to an attorney right now, please. You describe a classic case of workplace discrimination, and if you don't act on your own behalf, no one else will. I've served as an expert witness in a case very much like yours, and according to your account, your employer is not living up to its legal obligations.

Find the attorney through your local AIDS service organzition (yes, I know you don't have HIV, but you're being treated as if you do), the ACLU, or the American Bar Association's AIDS Coordination Project at 202.662.1025. Now. Please.

Going on Disability
HIV+ and changing jobs

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