Can a staff member being fired for being HIV positive ?

  1. 0
    I was wondering legally if a person could be fired for being HIV positive if their work role as a nurse did not entail exposure to blood or body fluids either the patient's or the nurse? I am asking for a friend who I work with that is scared to let upper management know her status because she wants to be able to continue to work. Please I know there are alot of smart nurses on this forum and I wonder if our state board of nursing would help in Washington it is the Department of Health.. Please help me if you can. :stone
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  4. 10 Comments so far...

  5. 1
    No. why does she have to tell anyway? The same laws that protect patient privacy protect her. If they fire her for the risk, then I guess we need to not have to take care of positive hep C patients and HIV patients.
    SweettartRN likes this.
  6. 2
    Quote from Lisa CCU RN
    No. why does she have to tell anyway? The same laws that protect patient privacy protect her. If they fire her for the risk, then I guess we need to not have to take care of positive hep C patients and HIV patients.
    Thanks LisaCCU
    I think its because she has used alot of sick time and she is a new employee. I am thinking they could not. Thank you for the advice. I agree I have taken care of many HIV positive and Hep C patients as well and never batted an eyelash. I think she is afraid she will lose the job due to the absences but she really doesn't miss alot and she always has physician's notes so I am thinking she shouldn't have to tell at all... . Just other co-workers say snide things but I feel she has a absolute right to privacy as we all do... I believe in the old adage that be careful you may get sick sometime too ...
    HM2VikingRN and pagandeva2000 like this.
  7. 0
    If other staff are saying snide things, do they know about her status or are they just ignorant?

    If they know about her status then chances are management does, too.

    I believe people with HIV are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  8. 0
    Quote from heron
    I believe people with HIV are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
    Yes, HIV/AIDs is covered by the ADA so there is no legal basis to terminate someone for this.
  9. 1
    She needs to tell the employer as she's risking getting fired for calling off. It would be better to let management know and see if she can fill out FMLA paperwork.
    leslie :-D likes this.
  10. 0
    Should the nurse inform his/her coworkers about her status?
    Something I have wondered about
    M
  11. 0
    Absolutely not....
  12. 1
    Quote from casi
    she needs to tell the employer as she's risking getting fired for calling off. it would be better to let management know and see if she can fill out fmla paperwork.

    i disagree. fmla status can be filed without divulging the actual medical condition (except for pregnancy). filing for fmla is probably the best way to protect her job. imho she should not disclose her condition to mgmt or coworkers.
    leslie :-D likes this.
  13. 1
    Quote from Psychtrish39
    Thanks LisaCCU
    I think its because she has used alot of sick time and she is a new employee.
    FMLA can only be used after 1 months of employment and at least 1250 hours of employment. OP said she was new so she probably won't qualify.

    Firing someone based on HIV/AIDS status is illegal but the nurse would have to be able to prove it. She could be fired for excessive absences if she exceeded the allotted 'sick' days whether she has a doctor's note or not.

    While many people insist on keeping medical conditions private. Sometimes it is in the employees best interest to be totally candid with an employer. The employer may be ready and willing to make certain accommodations for that employee. As an example, I explicitly told my employer about my bipolar diagnosis. Because of that, they worked with me to set up a contingency plan for any time I may need off so that they are not caught unawares and it doesn't reflect poorly on me. It also gives them a chance to make 'adequate' accommodations for my 'disability.'

    The main problem with accommodations is that the ADA specifically states that you MUST request an accommodation. The requires divulging the disability.
    Psychtrish39 likes this.


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