On December 3, 2015, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released two documents explaining the workplace rights of individuals with HIV infection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), including the right to be free from employment discrimination and harassment, and the right to reasonable accommodations in the workplace.
In Living with HIV Infection: Your Legal Rights in the Workplace Under the ADA, the EEOC explains the ADA’s prohibition against workplace discrimination and harassment and the employer’s obligation to explore reasonable accommodation when HIV affects an individual’s ability to perform essential job functions. The EEOC discusses the individual’s right to privacy, but clarifies that individuals need to discuss their condition with their employers as part of the reasonable accommodation process.
In Helping Patients with HIV Infection Who Need Accommodation at Work, the EEOC attempts to explain to health care providers what the ADA is, what it does, the circumstances under which their patients might receive workplace accommodations, and what types of accommodations might be available for HIV-infected individuals. The EEOC lists common reasonable accommodations as:
- Altered break and work schedules.
- Changes in supervisory methods.
- Accommodations for visual impairments.
- Ergonomic office furniture.
- Unpaid time off.
- Permission to work from home.
- Reassignment to a vacant position if the individual can no longer do his or her job due to HIV.
The EEOC also points out that the employer is not required to remove the essential functions of the job for the HIV-infected individual, or let him or her do less work for the same amount of pay or do lower-quality work.
Living with HIV Infection: Your Legal Rights in the Workplace Under the ADA
Helping Patients with HIV Infection Who Need Accommodation at Work