Does my employer have the right to know that I am HIV positive?
You are not obliged to tell your employer or work colleagues anything about your sexual orientation or HIV status. However, there may be advantages to you for disclosing this to an employer you trust. For example: you maybe taking sick leave to visit the hospital which distorts your good work report or maybe you need adjustments to your working environment to stay healthy. Maybe your work schedule increases stress and in turn your CD4 count. If so your employer is obligated, by law, to make reasonable adjustments to assist you. So it’s entirely up to you what you tell them, but if they don’t know they can’t help you and cannot be held accountable for not making adjustments.
How does the Disability Discrimination Act apply to HIV?
HIV is a disability under the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 (DDA), which means that your employer must make reasonable adjustments to support you if advised of your condition. A reasonable adjustment is a change to the workplace or work practices which removes a substantial disadvantage that you might experience because of your condition. There are many things that could constitute a reasonable adjustment. A full list can be found at: www.drc-gb.org (Disability). This site also provides practical advice on how an employer should handle a disability.
What if my employer has told people about my status?
Disclosing your status to a manager still entitles you to confidentiality. If a senior manager or line manager beaches your confidence it gives you the right to issue a claim in the employment Tribunal and/or in court under The Data Protection Act 1998. However, although this will punish this person it will not prevent them from breaching your confidence in the first place or repair any damage already done. We recommend you think carefully before you decide to disclose your HIV status to another person.
What protection do I have?
You are protected under the DDA should you suffer any form of discrimination, harassment or bullying or unfair treatment as a result of your HIV status (by your work mates or employer). A policy and procedures manual that specifically deals with
Disability and Sexual Orientation Discrimination, should be available from your employer. These policies will govern the way in which you are entitled to be treated and the way in which any complaints should be dealt with. You can submit a grievance and if this does not resolve the situation you will have the right to submit an employment claim to the Tribunal regardless of how long you have been employed.
If you experience any form of discrimination or unfair treatment you should approach your employer in the first instance. If the treatment continues you should seek independent legal advice about the grievance/employment claim process. The members at A City Law Firm Limited have met a lot of people with sensitive issues such as HIV, and we take care to respect your privacy by providing confidential and sensitive advice.
For more information contact us…
0207 426 0382