Federal Labor Court: HIV infection is not a reason for dismissal
HIV-infected people should not be released for their illness alone. There was a lot of praise for the judgment of the Federal Labor Court. The judges' decision is even described as groundbreaking.
Equating HIV infection with disability The Federal Labor Court has strengthened the rights of people infected with HIV. On Thursday, the Sixth Senate in Erfurt (6 AZR 190/12) decided that they should not be released solely because of their illness. According to the principle of equal treatment, an HIV infection should be equated with a disability and those affected are therefore particularly protected against discrimination. This also applies to the trial period. Therefore, expulsion from an HIV infection is an immediate disadvantage and is therefore ineffective.
Adequate arrangements for employing people infected with HIV A chemical technician hired by a drug company to work in the clean room in 2010 sued after he was fired. The employer found out about his HIV infection from the company doctor and released him during the trial period. However, the top labor judges did not rule on the dismissal of the dismissal, but referred the case back to the State Labor Court in Berlin. There it now had to be checked again whether appropriate precautions could have made employment of HIV-infected people possible.
Company doctor releases medical confidentiality The plaintiff, who is infected with HIV but does not suffer from symptoms, should manufacture drugs for cancer treatment that are administered intravenously. A short time after the start of his employment, the employment examination was due at the company doctor. During this appointment, the chemical-technical assistant told the doctor about his illness. The latter raised concerns, released himself from medical confidentiality and reported the infection to the employer. The man was then fired the same day. Since his work also requires handling glass and aluminum lids, the company feared that he could injure himself unnoticed. The judges found that employers did not have to be at risk of infection. However, they would have to take appropriate precautions for the employment of HIV-infected people by providing safety gloves and the like.
Poor implementation of the grand coalition ended The ruling by the Federal Labor Court received much praise. Carsten Schatz, board member of Deutsche Aids-Hilfe (DAH), said: "This is a good day for the rights of everyone who lives with a chronic illness and a good day for people who take their interests into their own hands." The year-long procedure was avoidable. "The legal uncertainty due to the poor implementation of the EU anti-discrimination directive and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was ended today, 2005," said Schatz.
Pioneering ruling Discrimination protection agencies even described the Erfurt ruling as "trailblazing". The head of the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency, Christine Lüders, said: "People with HIV in Germany have been waiting for this decision for a long time." And Vera Egenberger, managing director of the office for the implementation of equal treatment in Berlin, sees a gray area that has been eliminated Protection against discrimination of the chronically ill strengthened.
Important signal for case law in Germany The court made it clear that discrimination on the basis of HIV infection is just as unacceptable as unequal treatment based on gender or skin color, according to the monitoring agency on the UN Disability Convention. "The decision is an important signal for case law in Germany: the General Equal Treatment Act, like other laws, must be understood in the light of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities," said Valentin Aichele, head of the monitoring body for the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It is encouraging that the court referred to the principle of reasonable accommodation.
Nationwide 78,000 people infected with HIV At the end of 2012, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) estimated that around 78,000 people were infected with HIV nationwide. There were more than 3,400 new infections throughout Germany last year. About 550 people died in Germany last year from the consequences of AIDS. (ad)
Image: Rike / pixelio.de