There are very few instances where a person with HIV must disclose their status. Generally, people are not required to disclose their status to their employers. Our client Maccas*, a laboratory technician came to us seeking help because he had disclosed his status to his employer and subsequently faced overt discrimination, and later victimisation. Maccas was forced to take leave, had his job description altered and was socially isolated from other employees.
The discrimination and victimisation left Maccas with no choice but to resign from his job – a tenuous situation that no person should be forced to endure. Maccas resignation caused him significant financial and emotional hardship, and he came to HALC for restitution.
HALC – knowing all too well the flaws of modern society and the adverse effects they have on HIV positive people – was happy to help.
I joined HALC as these proceedings were about to be heard at the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Drafting our submissions to the Tribunal was a powerful experience because it exposed me to the inherent struggles that people with HIV face every day.
Ultimately, the matter was settled and subject to a confidentiality agreement. A catch twenty-two: without settlement our client would have faced a long and hard legal battle to achieve restitution; however with settlement the day-to-day discrimination against people with HIV never gains enough public exposure to spark change. Until that change gains enough traction, HALC will be there, leaving no person behind who has been discriminated against because of their HIV status.
*names of clients have been changed to respect and protect their confidentiality