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recently fired, what are my rights?
Sep 4, 1997

I have been hiv postitive for some time, and recently have missed alot of work due to my health, all documented and approved by my co's disability dept. My immediate supervisors and fellow workers have been aware of my condition for over a year. After returning to work from a two month disability leave, I informed the head of personnel for my company in writing about my being hiv positive and requested advice on what reasonable accommodations could be made as far as shorter hours so i could work without exhausting myself to the point where i needed time off. I made him aware of the length of time over the past two years i have been on disability leave as well. He said he would get back to me. This conversation took place the last day i was at work before an addl. 3 week dr. approved leave (just started PI cocktail and was having severe side effects). The very next day i was back at work three weeks later, I was called down to personnel and put on suspension regarding improper following of rules and procedures. It seems while i was gone, they went thru all my paperwork and found problems. I have never had a review with this company in two years, never been on warning for anything, have positive feedback from supervisors and peers. They said they would call me in two days to inform me of their decision, but i never heard back from them and called them a week later and made an appt. to discuss my employment. At that time, they then informed me i was terminated as of the day of my suspension. I have been with this employer, a major dept store holding company, working for three diff. divisions in three states, and have never had a problem, in fact have been recognized consistently for top sales performance in my division. It was only after i made top executives aware of my recent attendance problems, that they found "problems" with my performance. However, I was fired for cause, they made no mention of my hiv or attendance at my firing, IM sure they were aware of legal risks in firing me as this is a large company with paid legal staff. What are my rights in a case like this? Is it worth fighting, or since I was fired for cause, I should just accept it and move on. I dont want to waste alot of time and emotional energy on a lost cause just to make a point. GMHC attorneys in my city of NY are interested in pursuing this case, by the way. Can you give any input or feedback, suggest any reading material to help me decide what my chances are, etc... Would really appreciate an objective opinion, THANKS!!!! JAY

Response from Ms. Gabriel

Because your question is regarding legal rights, I am referring it to the section regarding HIV and the Law. I have forwarded your question to them, please check that area for a reply (http://www.thebody.com/cgi/legalans.html#recent). Thank you.

Lynne Gabriel


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