There are a number of laws that prohibit an employer from discriminating against an employee based on his or her sexual orientation and gender. Despite this, countless employers fail to enforce these laws and maintain workplace environments that are hostile and discriminatory toward individuals who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender. One of the most common forms of sexual orientation discrimination is based on HIV. At Phillips & Associates, our team of experienced sexual orientation discrimination lawyers has helped many New York City residents bring claims against their employers.Workplace Rights for Individuals Suffering from HIV and AIDS
According to the Human Rights Campaign, “Americans living with HIV or AIDS may face discrimination based on their health status in many areas of life—including employment.” Fortunately, there are a number of New York State and federal laws that provide recourse for individuals who experience this form of discrimination. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), both HIV and AIDS qualify as a disability even if the condition is asymptomatic. Employers are prohibited from discriminating against an employee or candidate based on his or her condition.
These laws apply to an individual even if he or she is only rumored or perceived to have HIV, or to have developed AIDS. In addition, the laws encompass every public employer and private employers that maintain 15 or more employees. Discrimination is prohibited in every facet of the hiring, employment, and administration chain, including hiring, firing, reviewing applicants, seeking information during the application process, assigning job duties, providing training, selecting promotional candidates, and determining wages and benefits.
The ADA also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for individuals with a disability, including HIV or AIDS. A reasonable modification includes “any modification which would not be significantly difficult or expensive in relation to the size of the employer.” Many employers argue that the potential loss of business or customers as a result of the candidate or employee’s condition would constitute an undue hardship for the employer. The ADA clearly prohibits employers from relying on a loss of business argument when denying an employee a reasonable accommodation for his or her AIDS or HIV condition.
Similarly, although an employer is entitled to take health and safety considerations into account when making employment decisions, the transmission of HIV is almost never considered to be a legitimate threat to safety.
Many employers attempt to inquire about an applicant’s health conditions during the hiring process. According to the ADA, “although an employer may inquire about health conditions that interfere with job performance, the employer is prohibited from inquiring about HIV status.” If the employer subsequently receives medical information indicating that the applicant or employee is HIV or AIDS positive, the employer must keep that information confidential.Seek Legal Guidance in New York City for a Gender Discrimination Claim
Coping with HIV is difficult enough without also facing wrongful treatment from your employer. At Phillips & Associates, our gender discrimination attorneys have represented numerous HIV positive individuals in New York City, including in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens. As a result, we understand firsthand just how sensitive and emotional this type of case can be for you and your family. As we guide you through the legal process, we will protect your privacy and aggressively assert your rights. We offer a free confidential consultation, so call us now at (833) 529-3476 or contact us online to set up an appointment.