Human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, also known as HIV/AIDS is a virus that can be transmitted through contact with infect blood, semen, or vaginal fluids. It is a virus that attacks the immune system, affecting the body’s ability to fight off infections. Symptoms for HIV start with flu-like symptoms with a fever, sore throat, and fatigue. It then usually become asymptomatic until it progresses to AIDS, where one might experience weight loss, fever or night sweats, fatigue, and recurrent infections. There is currently no cure for AIDS, but anti-retroviral therapy can prolong life and dramatically decrease the disease’s progress. It is considered a rare disease with less than 200,000 cases per year in the United States. If you are HIV/AIDS positive and have faced discrimination in the workplace because of this, then you need to file a lawsuit against your employer. You are protected under several laws from being discriminated against, and you need to make sure you exercise your rights under these laws. You should not let your HIV/AIDS solely define you or impact your work. You are more than just your disease, and your merit and qualifications as an employee should be the only factor in determining your employment opportunities. Get in contact with one of our HIV/AIDS discrimination attorneys in Los Angeles to start taking back control of your work life.
Can I get fired for having HIV/AIDS?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life. This includes, schools, work, transportation, and any other area that the public can access. Title I of the ADA focuses on the prohibition of disability discrimination in employment. The law protects employees at companies with 15 or more employees from employment discrimination. Employment discrimination can come in many forms such as:
- Job application procedures
- Hiring, advancement, or discharge
- Job training
- Terms, conditions, and privileges of employment
Under this law, it is illegal to fire someone because of a disability. The ADA considers a disability to be any mental or physical impairment that limits someone’s ability to perform one or more major life activities. Major life activities can be seen as general activities such as walking, talking, sleeping, listening, hearing, and so on, as well as bodily functions, such as the function of the respiratory system, reproductive system, immune system, and many more. HIV/AIDS falls under the category of a physical disability because it affects one’s immune system. You cannot get fired for having HIV/AIDS. If you have been fired or in any way discriminated against because of your HIV/AIDS diagnosis, you need to get in contact with our HIV/AIDS discrimination attorneys immediately.
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) is also an anti-discrimination law. This law prohibits discrimination against individuals under a protected category in employment and housing. The protected categories outlined by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) are:
- Race and color
- Ancestry and national origin
- Religion and creed
- Age (over 40)
- Mental and physical disability
- Sex and gender
- Sexual orientation
- Gender identification
- Medial condition
- Genetic information
- Marital status
- Military and veteran status
As you can see, disabilities are covered under this law. If you work at a smaller company and are not protected under the ADA, you may still be protected under the FEHA, because it applies to employers with only 5 or more employees. You may also be protected under both laws. Keep in mind, both these laws prohibit retaliation. If you have been retaliated against for exercising your rights under these laws, then you have a retaliation case as well, and should seek compensation with the help of one of our retaliation attorneys.
Can I get reasonable accommodations for my HIV/AIDS?
The ADA and FEHA also require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to those that qualify as long as it does not cause undue hardship to themselves. A reasonable accommodation is a change or modification in the workplace that allows for someone with a disability to exercise equal employment opportunities. These changes or modifications could be:
- Making existing facilities accessible and usable
- Job restructuring, modifying schedules
- Reassignment to a vacant position
- Acquisition of modification of equipment or devises
- Appropriate adjustment or modifications of examination, training materials, or policies
- The provision of qualified readers or interpreters and other similar accommodations for individuals with disabilities
A few examples of reasonable accommodations that may be needed for someone with HIV/AIDS are:
- Flexible scheduling, periodic rest breaks, stand-lean stools, telework, wheelchairs, and walkers for fatigue
- Hand protection or policy modification for suppressed immune system
- Mini refrigerators for nausea or other dietary needs
- Support animals and counseling/therapy for stress intolerance
- Fans, cooling clothing, heated clothing, and space heathers for temperatures sensitivity
These are just a few examples, but each case should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to see what reasonable accommodations you specifically need to be able to perform your job.
The FEHA also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations. In California, an employer must engage in an interactive process when a job applicant or employee requests a reasonable accommodation. This interactive process requires an individualized assessment of the job and the specific physical or mental limitations of the employee with relation to the need for the reasonable accommodation. It is illegal for an employer to not engage in an interactive process within a timely manner. If you are an employee with HIV/AIDS, make sure you employer is lawfully providing the reasonable accommodations you need. If not, get in contact with one of our HIV/AIDS lawyers in Los Angeles to see what you may be able to receive from a discrimination lawsuit.
Can I get fired for taking time off to address my HIV/AIDS?
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) both allow for employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for these reasons:
- Childbirth, adoption, or placing a child in foster care
- To take care of a family member’s serious medical condition
- To take care of an employee’s own serious medical condition
If you need to take time off work for medical appointments or other HIV/AIDS related reasons, then you may be able to take this leave under these laws. The FMLA and CFRA also guarantee that you will have your job when you return from your time off. This means you cannot get fired for taking time off to address your HIV/AIDS. If your employer has retaliated against you by firing, you after trying to take this leave then you have been wrongfully terminated and need to seek redemption for your losses. To be covered under these laws you must:
- Work at a company with 50 or more employers
- Worked at least 1,250 hours in the last 12 months
- Live within a 75-mile radius of the job site
Make sure you know your rights and which laws you qualify under in order to not let your employers take advantage of you. As a HIV/AIDS positive employee, there are certain things you are entitled to, do not let your employers tell you otherwise. Our lawyers at California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group understand the importance of having a job in Los Angeles, and we want to fight for you rights by helping sue your employer for their illegal discriminatory activity.
Free Consultation and Zero Fee Guarantee
If you are an employee in Los Angeles with HIV/AIDS, you need to make sure your rights are not being violated by your employer. While we wish all employers were legal and ethical, our Los Angeles HIV/AIDS discrimination lawyers know all too well this isn’t always the case. We believe a lawsuit is a strong way to combat unlawful behavior from employers. Call our office to schedule a free consultation with one of our HIV/AIDS discrimination attorneys. You deserve just the same rights and employment opportunities as anyone else, do not let your employer take these away from you. At your free consultation you will be able to sit down with one of our skilled lawyers and talk about your case in depth. We will then give you the best legal advice to help you gain the most compensation possible. You will not need to worry about financial obligations. Our zero fee guarantee means that we do not ask for any upfront fees at all, we only ask for a small fee if your case is won. You will face no financial risk working with us. If you have already spoken with an attorney, you can still come to our office to receive a free second opinion. Choose California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group to receive the highest recovery!