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Employment Discrimination Blog

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Employers Continue to Discriminate Against Individuals with HIV

More than 1 million people in the United States are living with HIV. Despite efforts on the part of lawmakers to prevent discrimination in the workplace for individuals living with this disease, several recent court cases indicate that discrimination in the hiring and firing process remains prevalent across a wide array of industries.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits an employer from discriminating against a qualified candidate due to his HIV status. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal government agency responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination, recently filed a lawsuit against Maxim Healthcare Services for refusing to hire a candidate after they learned that he was HIV positive. In the suit, the EEOC claims that the staffing service for healthcare professionals extended an offer to a qualified candidate for a position that involved sitting with patients at a local VA hospital. The offer was contingent upon the individual’s completion of a physical. The candidate underwent the examination and the health certificate clearly stated that the candidate was fit to work but it also did indicate his HIV status. The suit claims that upon reviewing the health certificate, Maxim refused to assign the candidate to the VA hospital. The EEOC is seeking an order that would prohibit Maxim from engaging in any other discriminatory hiring practices. If found to be in violation of federal law, Maxim may also be required to pay lost wages, compensatory and punitive damages, amongst other affirmative relief efforts.

Unfortunately, the Maxim case is not an isolated incident. Recent EEOC data obtained and analyzed by RH Reality Check, an online publication devoted to sexual and reproductive health and justice reporting, found that 25 cases have been filed by the EEOC over the past 10 years for discrimination on the basis of HIV and AIDS. Four of these cases are still in litigation. The report further detailed that between 1997 and 2013, the EEOC received almost 4,000 complaints from employees who had suffered discrimination based on one’s HIV or AIDS status.

For over two decades, the attorneys of Pankey & Horlock, LLC have represented employees throughout Atlanta who have faced illegal discrimination in the workplace. If you have a disability and were consequently treated unfairly during the hiring process or throughout the course of employment, you deserve justice and compensation for your suffering. Contact our knowledgeable legal team to schedule your confidential free case evaluation. Call 770-670-6250 today.


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