Employer Policies For Dealing
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GENERAL STATEMENT AND GUIDELINES CONCERNING AIDS AND OTHER LIFE THREATENING DISEASES
What is AIDS?
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a communicable, life-threatening disease with no cure at this time. Recognizing that prevention of infection is the best defense against AIDS, Wellesley College believes its primary response to this health threat should be community education about the disease and ways to avoid infection.
What Can an Employer Ask About the Medical Condition of an HIV-Positive Person?
AIDS results from infection with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). HIV is transmitted to individuals only by intimate sexual contact or by blood contact as with HIV contaminated needles or HIV-containing blood transfusion. Authoritative medical opinion from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American College Health Association states that there is no risk of acquiring AIDS by ordinary social or occupational contact such as working with, sitting near, or living in the same residence with an HIV-infected person. There is no risk in eating food handled by an infected person, being coughed or sneezed upon by an infected person, or swimming in a pool with an infected person.
Prior to making a job offer, employers may not ask job applicants about the existence, nature, or severity of a disability. Nor can an employer require any applicant to undergo a medical examination. Thus, an employer cannot ask applicants if they have HIV infection, AIDS, or any opportunistic infection associated with AIDS. Nor can an employer require any applicant to take an HIV antibody test because that is a medical examination. However, applicants may be asked about their ability to perform specific job functions.
The ADA allows an employer to ask individuals whether they have HIV infection or AIDS only after the employer has extended a conditional offer of employment. However, questions must be asked of all individuals entering a job category, not just an individual suspected of HIV infection. If a conditional job offer is withdrawn because of the results of such examination or inquiry, an employer must be able to show that:
the reasons for the exclusion are job-related and consistent with business necessity; and
there is no reasonable accommodation that will enable this individual to perform the essential functions; or
That any reasonable accommodation will impose an undue hardship.
A post-offer medical exam may disqualify a person on the basis that he or she poses a direct threat to the health and safety of employees or others in the workplace. Direct threat meets the “job-related and consistent with business necessity” standard. But the employer must first determine that there is no reasonable accommodation that will reduce or eliminate the direct threat.
Information that an individual has HIV infection will rarely justify withdrawal of a job offer. In many cases, HIV infection and AIDS will not interfere with the individuals ability to perform essential job functions. Moreover, the individual is entitled to a reasonable accommodation to permit performance of essential job functions. Since merely because an individual has HIV infection almost never justifies revoking a job offer, employers may want to consider whether it is advisable to make such inquiries. Similarly, employers may not want to conduct HIV testing because the results alone will not justify revocation of a job offer. Once an employer obtains such information, it must be kept confidential and the employer could be held liable if there is any breach of confidentiality.
Asking current employees whether they have HIV infection or AIDS, or requiring employees to take an HIV antibody test, will rarely be permissible under the ADA, unless the employer can show that such inquiries or testing is job-related and consistent with the employers business necessity.
Increasing public awareness and concern over Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and other life threatening diseases there is appropriate guidelines for such diseases.
The most current medical evidence indicates that no actual safety risks from AIDS are created in a normal employment setting. Efforts will be made to provide educational programs and information which will address the major interventions currently possible in limiting the consequences not only of AIDS but also other life threatening diseases.
Because there is no specific therapy for AIDS or AIDS related conditions, the following guidelines are designed to increase awareness and to prevent further spread of the disease:
The general rule is that legal and ethical considerations mitigate against the adoption of any policies or courses of action which would deny ordinary privileges and rights, including that of privacy, to members of the organization community who are known or suspected to have AIDS, ARC* or a positive HIV** antibody test.
Students who have AIDS, ARC or a positive HIV antibody test, whether they are symptomatic or not, should be allowed regular classroom attendance in an unrestricted manner as long as they are physically able to attend classes.
3. The access of students and employees with AIDS, ARC or a positive HIV antibody test to college public areas will not be restricted.
A retrovirus, called Human T – Lymph tropic Virus Type III is believed to cause AIDS and ARC.
Consideration of the existence of AIDS, ARC or a positive HIV antibody test will not be a part of the initial decision for those who applying to get job. No prospective employees will be required to respond to questions about the existence of AIDS, ARC or a positive HIV antibody test.
5. Employees with AIDS, ARC or a positive HIV antibody test will have access to housing of organization. However, because in some circumstances there is a reasonable concern for the health of those with AIDS or ARC who might be exposed to certain contagious diseases (e.g., measles or chicken pox) in a close living situation, employees with AIDS or ARC will be assigned private rooms in the interest of protecting their health.
6. Information regarding an individual diagnosed as having AIDS, ARC or having tested positive to the HIV antibody test shall be maintained