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Other Employees disclosing health status
Jun 29, 1998

My room mate and I are both Hiv Positive. We are having a problem at work with a female co-worker that feels it is her duty to tell everyone our health status. Our employer already knows our status and has no problem with it. How can we deal with this effectively and do we have any legal recourse against her?

She found out through someone not connected with work and has told all the other employees as well as customers that come into our store. Any help you could give us would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you!

Response from Ms. Breuer

Your co-worker is violating your rights. I urge you to go first to your human resources department and remind them that they do not want incidents of discrimination against anyone who is HIV+ at work. Ask them to have a stern talk with her about the confidentiality of medical information. If that is not effective, then ask an HIV-knowledgeable attorney for help.

No matter what else you do, I encourage you to insist on reliable HIV education at work. This co-worker seems to be under the false impression that an HIV+ person at work poses some sort of health risk, and that is incorrect. Yes, you probably do have legal recourse against her, but your life will be more pleasant if you shut her activity down before you need to pursue a court case.

Do not continue to tolerate this disclosure of your status without your permission. Remind your employer that if discrimination results and they did nothing to stop this co-worker, they could be judged liable in a court case.

Nancy Breuer

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