EEOC issues new guidance for people with HIV/AIDS in the workplace

Closeup photo of a group of multiracial hands holding red AIDS awareness ribbons.
New Guidelines for Employers

As part of the World AIDS Day 2015, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released new guidance December 1 pertaining to the protections provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act for people with HIV/AIDS.

“We are proud to be a part of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy,” EEOC Chair Jenny Yang said in a news release. “Individuals with HIV infection should know that the ADA protects their rights in the workplace, including the right to reasonable accommodations.

“By clarifying these rights, and explaining to doctors how they can support their patients’ requests for reasonable accommodation, these publications demonstrate our commitment to ensuring that individuals with HIV infection have full access to employment.”

As explained in the first document, “Living with HIV Infection: Your Legal Rights in the Workplace under the ADA,” the ADA strictly limits when employers can inquire into a person’s HIV/AIDS status. The ADA provides a variety of protections for people from being discriminated against or harassed on the basis of their HIV/AIDS status.

Reasonable accommodations provided by employers may include, changes in work hours, permission to work from home, and reassignment to a vacant position.

The second document, “Helping Patients with HIV Infection Who Need Accommodations at Work,” is geared toward medical professionals, and it explains specifically how to provide the necessary medical documentation to support reasonable accommodation requests.

It also provides information on the patient’s privacy rights in regard to their HIV/AIDS status, and an overview of the relevant ADA rules and definitions, among other topics.