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EEOC Issues Guidance on Workplace Considerations of AIDS

December 15, 2015
Source: FEDWeek

The EEOC has issued two sets of guidance on workplace issues arising from employees with HIV/AIDS, stressing that they are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which applies to the federal workplace, among others. One publication explains the protections against discrimination and harassment, the rights to reasonable accommodations, privacy rights and the obligation of the employer to keep medical information confidential. It says, for example, that generally employers cannot ask whether a person is HIV-positive, or whether they have any other medical condition, before making a job offer. However, an employer is allowed to ask medical questions when it is engaging in affirmative action for people with disabilities; when an individual asks for an accommodation; after it has made a job offer, but before employment begins, as long as everyone entering the same job category is asked the same questions; and on the job, when there is objective evidence that the individual may be unable to perform the job or may pose a safety risk because of the condition, even with a reasonable accommodation. An employer “does not have to excuse poor job performance, even if it was caused by a medical condition or the side effects of medication,” it notes. The other publication is geared toward medical personnel and provides them with instructions on the protections under the law, the importance of disclosing the need for an accommodation before a problem occurs, and what to do when an employer raises safety concerns.

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