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Pretty Healthy Working Individual - Happen to be HIV+
Aug 31, 2001

I am pretty healthy, I've been positive for 4 years now, and I have a CD4 count ot 678 and viral load is undetectable. I've been working for the same company for 3.5 years now, and my Human Resources manager knows about my HIV. I am worried, however, about one thing. I tend to get ill about twice as much a year as I used to. I seem to be more prone to get the flu, colds, vomitting, and aches/pains more than the average employee. I'm allotted 10 days of vaction time, 5 days of sick time, and 3 days of personal time, all paid by the company. I use up all my vacation time currently for family vacations, but I tend to need abut 10 days for sick time. What can a company do to me legally for needing more sick time than an average employee? I'm worried about being fired. When I am at work, and feeling well, I am very productive, and otherwise a perfectly healthy individual. My work has adjusted my schedule to allow me to come in a bit later than everyone else due to morning sickness side effects from my medications. But what is the limit of tolerance my employeer has to put up with?

Response from Ms. Breuer

This is a great question. Congratulations on doing so well, and on negotiating what is already at least one successful reasonable accommodation of your disability.

The Americans with Disabilities Act is very clear on the "limits" you ask about. Whatever accommodations you receive of the illness, you must still complete all of the essential functions of your job. Do you have a job description that defines your essential functions? If not, this would be a great time to work with your contact in HR to draft a written job description with those essential functions in it, so that you and HR can agree on its contents before you really test it.

Both you and your employer would probably be more comfortable measuring your performance against an objective standard rather than a "limits of tolerance" standard, which is vague and changeable. I wish you the best, and congratulate you for addressing this before it becomes a serious employment issue.

Thanks, Nancy!
I think I was pricked by a needle

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