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Downsizing and AIDS
Mar 16, 1998

My company alerted us of an impending downsizing for June, we were ask to re-apply for the number of positions available after downsizing. I have been treated for AIDS and I have my health Insurance provided by the job. Is there any regulation that prohibits a company to use the power of downsizing knowing that an employee is HIV +?

How can I react to the fact that I will lose my health benefits?

Is it possible for the company use the Occupational Health System to check on health files and use it as a guide to let people go?

Response from Ms. Franzoi

The ADA prohibits a company from making decisions re the employment or termination of an individual based on his or her HIV status. If you are laid off, the company will probably provide a severance package with some sort of transitional coverage while you are seeking reemployment. You need to review the severance package offered carefully with respect to this. In addition, if your company currently has at least 20 employees, you will be eligible to continue your coverage under COBRA for a period of 18 months after coverage ceases at a cost of 102% of the premium. At the end of COBRA, you will be eligible to purchase an individual plan from any insurer in the state that offers such coverage without evidence of good health as long as you don't go over 63 days without coverage. The insurer will be able to charge a higher premium for those individuals who not provide evidence of good health.

If your current plan is insured, it highly unlikely that the company could gain access to your medical records. In addition, as I stated before, to use someone's HIV status in making a determination about employment or termination violates the ADA.

Lynn Franzoi


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