While there are already many social and cultural stigmas attached to having an STI, being fired for having one is nothing less than an excessive amount of extra and unnecessary pain and suffering. At the very least, being fired after testing positive for herpes is extremely discriminatory and is a severe violation of your rights. If you were fired after testing positive for herpes you indeed have a case, and the California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group is happy to view your claim and assist you in seeking reclamation for any emotional and physical distress you may have encountered.
Herpes is a virus that’s symptoms are the appearance of sores around the infected area. There are two types: genital and oral, and genital herpes can be caused by two different viruses, either HSV-1 or HSV-2. Herpes can be asymptomatic at times, and it is one of the more common STIs in the US. At least 1 out of every 6 people aged 14-49 have genital herpes, but the number could be even larger for those that do not know they are positive because of lack of symptoms. Herpes can also be passed to your partner several different ways. Vaginal, anal, and oral sex are all ways of transmitting the disease, and it should be noted that even if your partner does not have symptoms you can still contract the virus.
If you have been diagnosed with herpes it is important to know what information you are obligated to disclose and who you are obligated to disclose it to in relation to STIs. California Health and Safety Code 120600 states it is a misdemeanor if you refuse or fail to disclose your positive STI status to a sexual partner. There are three ways in which you could be charged: negligence, battery, or fraud. You also may be subject to pay damages to your victims. However, unless your employer is also your sexual partner, you are not required to disclose any information of your sexually transmitted disease status to your employer. If an employer does somehow happen to know you have tested positive for herpes, they are not allowed to discriminate against you or fire you solely based on that knowledge. Your rights protected under several laws have been violated and you should seek compensation immediately.
The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) specifies that an employer cannot discriminate against an employee or applicant because of their protected status. A protected status includes race/color; ancestry or national origin; religion or creed; age; physical or mental disability; sex or gender including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions; sexual orientation; gender identity; medical condition; genetic information; marital status; and military or veteran status. They key word to be looking at here, if we are talking about your rights in terms of employment related to herpes would be “physical disability.” Herpes or any STI is a physical disability as defined by the law. The FEHA text states that a physical disability is any physiological disease, disorder, condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss that limits a major life activity and one or more of the body systems which includes the reproductive organs. So any sort of employment discrimination such as being fired because of a physical disability, which we have established includes STIs, is unlawful and warrants a law suit. Types of employment discrimination determined by the FEHA are refusing to hire or employ, refusing to select an individual for training, firing and employee, or discriminating against someone in compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges. It also must be noted that the FEHA for physical disabilities applies to companies with 5 or more employees. Before pursuing a legal suit, make sure you are qualified under the act.
To begin the process of filing a claim if you feel as if your rights under the FEHA have been violated, you must fill out and intake form and send it in to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. You can find the intake form on their website. Possible recovery outcomes if you win your case are replacement of out-of-pocket expenses, access to a job opportunity, policy changes, training, reasonable accommodations, and more.
On a similar note, if you have been fired or faced other job related repercussions due to HIV/AIDS, we could be looking at something bigger. All STIs such as Syphilis, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, HPV, Hepatitis B, Herpes, and others are not viewed as a disability under the law and do not require reasonable accommodation according to the American with Disabilities Acts ADA. The ADA seeks to protect employees who are disabled and do not allow for any sort of job discrimination based on disabled status. The ADA only applies to companies with 15 or more employees. The act covers medical acts and physical or mental disabilities. Physical disabilities under the ADA include permanent and non permanent conditions, including HIV/AIDS, even if there are no symptoms. Under the law, reasonable accommodations, if needed, must be supplied to you if you are HIV/AIDS positive. An example of a reasonable accommodation could be providing a place to sit for an employee whose HIV/AIDS diagnosis causes them to feel fatigued. Employers must also allow for time off or schedule changes for doctor’s appointments due to sickness related to their diagnosis.
If you were fired after testing positive for herpes and want to pursue a case, it’s important you find a qualified Herpes discrimination lawyer. The California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group will match you with one right away. Call our office or come in today for a free consultation. We have a zero-fee guarantee, meaning you are not obligated to pay anything unless we win your case. While breaking down the social stigmas of STIs may be a long and slow process, we promise you working with our lawyers will not be. Your medical status should never be a sole reason for an employer to fire you, and we are very passionate about enacting out that statement. It’s time to get back on the path to happiness by seeking justice today!