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HELP!
Jun 9, 2001

5/6/01

Dear Friends,

Please help me. I really do not know who to direct this letter to, but I hope that it gets to someones hand that might be able to help me or point me on the right direction. I am so very confused and very much in shock. I have recently been diagnosed as an HIV positive male. I was and still is shitless scared. I guess I have suspected for awhile now that I might be HIV positive but NEVER took the test until very recently. (April 2001). I went in for a straining back pain that I have had for at least 7 years. It started gettting to a point where it was so bad that I would cry. Went to my doctor's office and he took some x-rays and blood work. A few days later he called me in to discuss the result - I had HIV! My life changed and felt myself almost fainting.... he then referred me to an HIV specialist where I am scheduled later this month. Since have handled legal cases, this is what I really need your help in. The day he told me about my HIV status, I had asked him if he could put me out of work until April 17, 2001. I saw him on April 3, 2001. He gave me the form indicating that I would be out till April 17th due to "slipped back disc". I spoke with my boss over the phone and informed her that I would be out till April 17th. She then said that I would fall under our "short term disability" policy and would need to fill out paperwork. I said I would be down or someone would to pick these up. Well, with all the commotions, emotions, and still trying to deal with this big impact that would change my life drastically, the papers was not picked up nor turned in, but keep in mind that my boss was informed when I would return per the doctor's note. Also, as a little background of my job - I work as a supervisor managing 17 employees for a huge call center in Las Vegas, NEVADA. I am a hard working person who rarely ever misses work and has won several award for being an outstanding supervisor. There is nothing negative in my personnel file. OK, so back to me returning to work, completely my fault, again just shocked from the HIV status news, I did not clearly read the doctor's note. I had thought since he put me out till April 17th that I would return to work on April 18th. On April 18th I called my boss, left a voice mail indicating that I would not be back on the 18th because I was not feeling good and will definetly see her on April 19th. (I was literally sick in bed with fever, fatigueness and depression.). HERE IS WHERE IT GETS GOOD - She calls me back and said that they have divided my team and that I was fired because of "job abandonment". She was very cold. I tried to explain to her that how could they do that when I have the doctors note excusing me due to illness. She said because I did not fill out the "short-term" that was grounds for termination under "job Abandonment." I then asked to speak with the head of Human Resources and she said that she would tell that person but does not know what good that would do. After hanging up and came into realization that I have just been fired, I was literally in shock!!!!!!! I then thought about my health insurance and money situation and how I'm going to my family and friends that I'm HIV positive and LOST my job too and have no health care insurance for which I would really need when I do become really sick. I've given this company 6 years of my life and really felt like they did not work with me. Not once has tried to get a hold of me once to check how I was doing or anything. During the next few days, I kept calling the head of Human Resources, the Head of Short Term Disability, my boss, and to this date, they have not returned any of my calls and really do not know where to go from here. I have recently received a certified letter from my work of continuation of medical insurance under COBRA. It showed that the last day of coverage of my medical insurance was April 12th. They cancelled my insurance even though I had told my boss of my return date. I have a doctors note indicating that I was under his care until April 17th. My insurance was CANCELLED on April 12th!.....I am so lost......I feel like ending it all sometimes, If anyone can help me........please I'm hanging by a string, I have no one to talk to, have not told anyone, I'm so scared and now I don't have a job..........HELP!!!!!!!!!!!! PLEASE!!!!! Can I do anything within my rights of the law?

Thank you and hope to hear from you soon. Please email me back to this address: jakehiv@hotmail.com

You can contact me at (702) 203-6456 - Jake

Response from Ms. Breuer

Only a discrimination attorney can help you with this. See one now. Don't wait. Delay makes it worse. Find one at your local AIDS service organization, through the ACLU, or through the American Bar Association's AIDS Coordination Project at 202.662.1025



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