i recently was hired as a dialysis nurse. upon hiring, labs were taken. i was told that they would check for hep b. report came back that i am hep c positive, which i knew but did not disclose this information. nor was i asked to. now, my don tells me that corporate policy says that hep c positive nurses cannot work in patient care. she requested a note from my gastro doc stating that i could work. when i called him and asked for a note, he said it was illegal, (he thinks) that it is ridiculous what they are doing and that i should seek other help. he said he would write a note, but then he says that he won't. he has never heard of such a thing, he says. also, he knows plenty of docs and nurses with hep c. he thinks i should fight it. (but preferably without his help) my don showed me the policy that her administrator gave her. it clearly states that we (the hep c employees) must change position or be relived of duty. there is no other position at this company for me, as she stated. i agree. so, the question is, is it illegal? if the employee handbook says they can't discriminate for the usual (health, race,etc) why am i being discriminated against? or am i? i have turned down other jobs for this one. should i pursue or resign?
thanks in advance for your help.
Jan 22, '01
I am not sure of the laws in your state, however, the ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] states that an employer must make reasonable accommodations for individuals in the work place. If the policy of the institution states that you cannot be involved in pt. care, then they are labored with the responsibility of finding you a position that you can do [for the same rate of pay, by the way]. If they refuse to do this, I would contact a labor attorney in your area for further advice. Drop the name 'Americans with Disabilities' act, and watch your administrator drop a brick! Good luck.
Tis with our judgements as our watches, none go just alike, yet, each believes his own.
Jan 25, '01
When I took a travel position at a really weird hospital in NJ, employee health drew bloods for titres- measles, mumps, rubella, rubeola, varicella, and also for syphillis. I made some wise crack about not Hepatitis or HIV? And their response was they could only test for diseases I was likely to communicate to a patient under normal circumstances and that could be treated or prevented with a vaccine. They said they could not mandate Hep or HIV testing because even if I was positive, I wasn't likely to pass it on while working as a nurse and because there were no cures or vaccines.
They did offer (and I accepted) a hepatitis B titre to see if my vaccination series worked- turned out I needed a booster. But it was optional and they never mentioned testing for Hep C.
I do know that hospitals are mandated to offer their employees the hepatitis B vaccine at no charge and to offer testing in the case of an occupational exposure. But this clinic is in effect mandating that their employees cannot be carriers of a disease that you are not going to pass to a patient if you observe universal precautions. I can't see how that could be legal. Are HIV positive employees banned as well? Did the consent form you signed for testing state they were going to check for B and C?
I am not an attorney but it sounds like one could have a field day with these people. But if they treat their employees this way, do you want to work for them?
Jan 26, '01
Syphillis? Maybe the doctors require virginity checks on all the female nurses too.....Sounds like you just got a freebie--you found out what a crapfest that place was without actually having to work there for a few months to REALLY experience it.
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