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AIDS AND THE EEOC
Apr 16, 1998

HOW DOES THE EEOC AND THE ADA DEFINE DISCRIMINATION AGAINST

A WORKER WITH AIDS? AND DOES A DISHCHARGE HAVE TO OCCUR FOR THE EMPLOYEE TO HAVE A FAVORABLE LAW SUIT?

Response from Ms. Breuer

No, you don't have to be fired to have a discrimination claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA and federal regulations implementing it prohibit discrimination in all aspects of employment including recruitment, advertising and application, hiring, promotion, award of tenure, demotion, transfer, pay rate, fringe benefits, social and recreational programs "and any other term, condition, or privilege of employment." Simply stated, if you can prove that an employer is treating you as an HIV-positive applicant or employee differently from employees without HIV because you have HIV, you may have a claim of discrimination.

Whether you can find a lawyer to take a case and file suit on contigency is another matter. Many private lawyers will not consider employment discrimination cases unless the client has been terminated because, unless terminated, monetary damages are usually small. If you feel you are being discriminated against but have not been terminated, consult an HIV legal services organization. They may be able to assist you in ending the discriminatory treatment by writing a letter notifying the employer of the requirements of the ADA.

David Grunwald


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