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Author Topic: Discrimination in the workplace  (Read 3189 times)

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Offline geostud

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  • Posts: 4
Discrimination in the workplace
« on: September 12, 2006, 01:22:58 PM »
I've been HIV+ since 1976, I suspect.  When Save-a-queer came out, I responded well and got healthy.  I went back to school and earned a BS and am close to getting my MS.  I took an internship with a local agency and was open about my HIV status.  I heard comments about how they didn't want me around drilling rigs because a cable might break and hit me, spewing my blood around.  Yes, I guess that could happen, but it is unlikely.  Besides, the virus has been undetectable in my blood for years now so I figure the chances of anyone getting infected are nill. 

I left the internship to take a full-time position with another agency; I chose not to be open about it because of the comments I heard before.  Well, they found out, I must assume from the other agency.  I was let go, under the provisions of probation.  When I asked why, all they said was that their attorney advised them not to say.  I'm angry about this and don't see that I have any recourse.  I'm beginning to wonder why I bothered trying to get back into the workforce since it appears no one wants me there.

BTW, there should be a seperate forum on discrimination here as almost everyone I know has experienced it.

Offline RapidRod

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Re: Discrimination in the workplace
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2006, 01:56:45 PM »
I figure the chances of anyone getting infected are nill. Just because your VL is undectable does not mean that you can not spread HIV. I don't believe we need to have a seperate forum on discrimination. I have been positive for 22 years and I've never been discriminated against.

Offline poobear

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Re: Discrimination in the workplace
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2006, 02:43:48 PM »
I am sorry to hear about your situation.  Not sure what to say.  I have been + for 12 years and I also have not run into discrimanation in the work place.  It sounds like someone from internship has a big mouth.  Keep you head held high and try again.  With much Love  Rachel

Offline jack

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  • fomerly the loser known as Jake
Re: Discrimination in the workplace
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2006, 03:27:16 PM »
Get a lawyer and go after them.

Offline LatinAlexander

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  • Bogota, Colombia
Re: Discrimination in the workplace
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2006, 07:00:19 PM »
Get a lawyer, and kick them!!!!!!!!!!

Alex
Poz since Jul 19 2006
Initial numbers : CD4-250 VL 3500
First labs after HAART (Dec 04-2006) : CD4-432 VL-<40 (Undetectable)  cd4%=25.11%
Started HAART: Combivir+Efavirenz Aug 26 7:38 pm
Feb 08 2007 - Gradually stopping HAART cause of Myalgia. Protecting Efavirenz. Stopped Efavirenz, ahead with Combivir....
February 17 Combivir stopped.
April 3 -07 : Started ddi+3tc+efavirenz...
Gay and positive (What a lack of Identity...:) )
Looking for my Ben....

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Discrimination in the workplace
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2006, 07:05:17 PM »
BTW, there should be a seperate forum on discrimination here as almost everyone I know has experienced it.

Doll, I have to disagree with you on this point. Discrimination is part of living with the virus. Thus the appropriate forum to discuss it is this one - Living With HIV.

MtD

Offline IzPoz

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  • God, grant me the serenity...
Re: Discrimination in the workplace
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2006, 07:15:03 PM »
I had one situation of when I feel I was discriminated on.  I was back at a job where I felt they were going to re-hire me full time.  It was a company I worked for previously (before I knew my status).  I ran a story in the newspaper for a Christmas story.  It made the front page, so I wanted to be sure I told the people at work so there wasn't any surprises.

Not long after that, they decided they didn't need my assistance any further, and let me go.  I couldn't do anything as there was nothing written in stone that they were going to hire me.

From that point on, I decided not to ever, ever, tell my employers my status.

I'd say get an attorney's advice, and see if you have any grounds to stand on.

Good luck.
The reason angels can fly is that they take themselves so lightly. ~ Chesterton G. K.

Offline ademas

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  • Posts: 1,151
Re: Discrimination in the workplace
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2006, 07:37:29 PM »
Unfortunately, if it's "at will" employment, they don't even need a reason to fire you.

I don't know that you have much of a case without any documentation, or without another employee who is willing to speak up and go to bat for you.

That said...I know my former employer of nearly 20 years was once sued for racial discrimination after firing a guy that never showed up for work.  It made no sense at all, as he had employees of all color and creed spread out throughout his business, including management.  Still...in the end...his attorney advised him to settle out-of-court, as it would have been much more expensive for him to fight the allegation.

I guess what I'm saying is...talk to a lawyer.  Even if you don't have a strong case, you might be able to hit him in the pocketbook, and maybe they'll think twice next time.

Offline Teresa

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Re: Discrimination in the workplace
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2006, 07:38:47 PM »
That really sucks but im not sure there is much you can do since they let you go during your probation period. I know in aircraft (Boeing, Raytheon, Cessna) can let you go anytime during your probation period without giving a reason.

Maybe its different in your profession...i hope so!

Maybe you can go after your former employer for disclosing to the present employer if you can prove they disclosed it. Do like the others said..ask a lawyer.
Hang in there!

Hugs
Teresa
Hubby HIV+ 5/5/06
CD4:320
  %: 26.7
 VL: <20
Atripla (started it 8/24/06)
 

Offline carousel

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  • Posts: 821
Re: Discrimination in the workplace
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2006, 07:44:02 PM »
.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2007, 12:52:54 PM by carousel »

Offline RapidRod

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  • Posts: 15,288
Re: Discrimination in the workplace
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2006, 08:43:39 PM »
No that doesn't mean discrimination does not exist and it was never said that it didn't. What I said is that we don't need a seperate forum for it. It can't be said that it happens anymore often to people with HIV as with anyone else.

Offline Dboy

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  • Posts: 5
Re: Discrimination in the workplace
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2006, 09:04:55 PM »
 >:(It is illegal in the United States to terminate an employee because they are HIV+, even during a "probationary period", even for an "at will" employer.  Get a lawyer, preferrable one recommended by an HIV service provider or support group.  There will more than likely be one willing to take this on pro bono.  You have a case against both of the employers, the one that terminated you and the one that released your confidential health records which is a separate violation altogether (HIPAA see http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/ to know your rights).  Do this now and do not delay.  The only way this type of cr@p will end is when it becomes ecomonically too difficult to make stupid decisions. 
David

Offline RevMC

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    • Psychic AwakeningSchool.com
Re: Discrimination in the workplace
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2006, 09:53:31 PM »
I work at a hairsalon.  The first salon I was working in I told them about my HIV status.  It was a husband and wife who owned the salon.  I told the wife and she told her husband.  I could hear him yell on the phone to get me out of there.  She made a comment to him that she might as well give the salon over to me right away.  Needless to say I kept my job for awhile.

I'm in a great salon right now.  The owners know my status and accept it.  They also know that I'm a caregiver (see 18 1/2 yrs POZ and Caregiver) and are always asking how both of us are doing and they remind me that if I need time off work that I don't have to worry.  They're very supportive and helpful.

I can personally tell you that it's very difficult to prove descrimination based on your HIV status.  I had tried that at another salon I was working at.  To be descriminated against, they have to have treated someone else who is in the SAME situation you are in differently than they treated you.  LOOPHOLE!!  How are you to know if anyone else is HIV+ and being treated different than you are?????  That's where the problem comes in with fighting descrimination.  Unless they are open about telling you that it's because of your status, then you have a good shot at filing the charges.

Consult a lawyer and good luck.

Rev. Michael
Part of my story: "Sale Of A Lifetime" POZ December 2003
http://www.poz.com/articles/172_752.shtml

Started on Truvada and Viramune on 2/15/07

Jan 8, 2007   t-cells 215  Viral Load 10,000  24%
March 26'th  T-cells 306   Viral Load  UNDETECTABLE
June 2007 t-cells 375 Viral Load UNDETECTABLE
August 2007 t-cells 290 Viral Load UNDETECTABLE



Love and Light and Reiki sent your way,
Rev. Michae

Offline geostud

  • Member
  • Posts: 4
Re: Discrimination in the workplace
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2007, 09:16:35 PM »
Thank you everyone for your input.  I haven't, as of now, consulted an attorney.  However, I have someone who has experience in human resources posing as a prospective employer and calling my former employers and references.  I want to see if anyone is saying anything they shouldn't, then I can take legal action if need be.  :)

Offline emeraldize

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,348
Re: Discrimination in the workplace
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2007, 09:32:13 PM »
Geo:

If they sought counsel's input as your initial post indicated, you (and your front man) can be certain they've been counselled as to what to say regarding your having worked there, confirming dates of employment, etc. They won't reveal their hand--at least I don't believe they will.

However, I'm with the other posters whose immediate responses were " Get a lawyer." Go ahead and do the covert gyration to satisfy your curiosity---where the real exploration should begin is with what you know, what was said, etc. Write a chronology of events before,during, after so you don't let time wipe out any memories, compile any documents you have regarding company policies or anything that might substantiate discriminatory practices and get an appointment with a lawyer whose got some expertise in labor law and discrimination.

Just suggestin'. And, best of luck.

Em

Offline RevMC

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    • Psychic AwakeningSchool.com
Re: Discrimination in the workplace
« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2007, 12:08:12 AM »
Em is correct.  When someone calls a reference that company can only say when you were hired, when you left and if they would re-hire you again.  If they say NO they would not hire you again, they can not say why.

I worked as a manager and when we had someone call up for an ex-employee who was fired, all I was allowed to say was when they were hired, when they left and that we would not hire them back.  The person asked why and I told them that was confidential information and was not allowed legally to say why we would not re-hire that person.  Even though she stole money out of the register, didn't ring up customers and kept the money and stole client information.

I was told during a legal case I had filed against an employer to document EVERYTHING!!  Phone calls, names, dates, what I remember of conversations, etc. . .  There is also timeframes to file lawsuits so you need to get the ball rolling to be on the safe side so you do not run out of time.

Good luck.
Part of my story: "Sale Of A Lifetime" POZ December 2003
http://www.poz.com/articles/172_752.shtml

Started on Truvada and Viramune on 2/15/07

Jan 8, 2007   t-cells 215  Viral Load 10,000  24%
March 26'th  T-cells 306   Viral Load  UNDETECTABLE
June 2007 t-cells 375 Viral Load UNDETECTABLE
August 2007 t-cells 290 Viral Load UNDETECTABLE



Love and Light and Reiki sent your way,
Rev. Michae

Offline Life

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  • Member 2005
Re: Discrimination in the workplace
« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2007, 12:28:52 AM »
Get a lawyer, they love this shit...  I hope you get really really rich and never have to work again....
« Last Edit: January 05, 2007, 01:13:31 AM by Eric »

Offline ACinKC

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Re: Discrimination in the workplace
« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2007, 11:26:06 AM »
Em is correct.  When someone calls a reference that company can only say when you were hired, when you left and if they would re-hire you again.  If they say NO they would not hire you again, they can not say why.
Good luck.

This is not necessarily true anymore.  Thanks to my parents.  Who went all the way to the supreme court of texas, to argue for a businesses right to tell reference requesters the TRUTH about former employees regardless of if it is good or bad. 

This was extremely expensive for us and we do only verify employment now, BUT it is on legal record that a business CAN tell the truth about an employee.  This being said.  HIV does NOT figure into this equation as it is related more to HIPAA laws than the ones im talking about.
LIFE is not a race to the grave with the intention of arriving safely
in a pretty and well-preserved body, but, rather to skid in broadside,
thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming--WOW! WHAT A
RIDE!!!

Offline megasept

  • Member
  • Posts: 478
  • Steven here...
"Fire at Will" does NOT permit all forms of discrimination
« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2007, 01:42:10 PM »
No that doesn't mean discrimination does not exist and it was never said that it didn't. What I said is that we don't need a seperate forum for it. It can't be said that it happens anymore often to people with HIV as with anyone else.

One or two threads fine with me, provided we talk about this issue, that indirectly affects everyone on this Site. I see no point in comparing frequency of this type of discrimination against that type. I have doubts good measures even exist. HIV discrimination in the workforce exists. It has happened to me. It's directly connected to anti-gay prejudice, among other attitudinal roots. That's enough for me.  

I have been told by a big-city (African-American) doctor who administers pre-employment physicals that I "might better have lied about my HIV". I was hired anyway, and appreciated the employer for seemingly "walking the walk". A typical "educated" person will advise an applicant with HIV not to lie so "you can't be fired later for falsification". The fact is I don't personally know anyone fired for falsification of an application, but you can't be fired from a job you don't get in the first place due to naive trust in legal "protections".

"It can't be said that it happens anymore often to people with HIV as with anyone else..." is a disingenuous comment, perhaps written in haste. HIV discrimination happens to people with HIV, and some who are thought to have HIV. Most happens to people with HIV, especially gay men, or even guys who are thought to be gay. I am gay and I have HIV and I have been discriminated against on the job. I am not the only one. I wrote this carefully, having been attacked by those who guessed I had HIV and knew I was gay (no secret), with scant evidence--perception of HIV is more important than "status." HIV has been the new "anti-fag" approach for at least 20 years.

Decent people should oppose all wrongful discrimination in the workplace, no matter what the laws and what the rules, no matter how rare or common. Part of that might mean standing up for one's own rights from time to time.

Those who write "Fire at Will" or probationary rules allows employers to fire anyone at anytime aren't painting the whole picture. I am not naive---I am a trade unionist. "Fire at Will" does not allow a manager and a supervisor to sit down and discuss how to get rid of someone for the reason of ethnicity, religion, gender, etc. PROVING this kind of malice is difficult. You would probably need a company turncoat who would testify against his fellow bosses.

When required I will lie about my status to secure a job, and conceal my sexuality to make it through probation. In fact I am doing so now in two long drawn out pre-employment processes. I have no doubt the first employer would "vet" gay applicants (they have a ten year war with pro-gay anti-discrimination advocates), and the second employer has good rules but employees who might not think a gay man should work with underage males. I have to eat! Both jobs I am trying to get are unionized. I would be embarrassed if my union was part of the problem.The are plenty of sharks out there smelling blood. We don't need to walk around with a chip on our shoulder to hear anti-hiver comments or actions. 

I find it hard to believe anyone with HIV for ten or more years could not perceive discrimination against us. That is not to say, everyone or even most of us have been directly discriminated against in the workforce. But the general attitudes in society are to seek distance from us, or be somehow denigrating. I find the more educated do the former, and the less educated the latter. Personally I like discrimination right out in the open...so it can be confronted and then eradicated.

 8) -megasept
« Last Edit: January 05, 2007, 01:45:47 PM by megasept »

Offline Salteen

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  • Posts: 35
Re: Discrimination in the workplace
« Reply #19 on: January 05, 2007, 04:00:29 PM »
I was working at a daycare and they found out and fired because they said one of the kids might bite me.  Yeah they tried to compensate me and rehire me because they knew that I could sue them then but it was horrible.  They put me in a room by myself doing paperwork for a day and then took me to the head dude's office and said I could do filing where I would be secluded from everyone else.  Pretty dumb.

Offline Coffeechick88

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Re: Discrimination in the workplace
« Reply #20 on: January 05, 2007, 05:51:34 PM »
I would go to a lawyer to at least see if you have a case.  I can say by experience it can be difficult to prove.  When I had my issue of being fired, workplace harrassment, etc after a "friend" went to my boss and told my status, which spread to everyone.  My problem was being incredibly naive--I was newly diagnosed, just turned 20--so as far as I knew HIV stigma and discrimination was a thing of the '80s.  So when my boss asked me if it was true what she said, I actually said yes, thinking there would be no issue.  It never occurred to me to document everything that happened.  When my parents finally drug me to a lawyer, I was told I had a very good chance of losing.  Not only had I not kept the records of all the harassment before my firing, but I had absolutely no friends left in that place who would speak for me, even though they knew full well what happened and why--that included the people who didn't participate, but were too chicken to even come to my defense.  Also, the boss basically twisted some things around to make it look like the reason for hiring was valid.  The only person who ever had to pay for anything was the one who smashed the windows out of my car.  No one had to answer for the HIV discrimination.

So basically one valuable lesson is Document, document, document!!  Anything to help prove your case, because you can bet they would deny it.  A lawyer can definitely be your advocate.  I would get one that is experienced in these types of cases.
Lucas James is here
Born 6-14-08 at 1233 am
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