Court hears first case of HIV discrimination at workplace

By Deng Xiaoci Source:Global Times Published: 2016/12/21 21:23:39

A court in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province heard the province's first-ever lawsuit addressing job discrimination against an HIV-positive individual on Wednesday.

Filed by the 27-year-old plaintiff, Ah Ming (pseudonym), a former employee of a Guangzhou-based public institution suspended from work since December 2015, the Baiyun District Court of Guangzhou heard the case in a private session on Wednesday.

"No decision has been made by the court," Ah Ming told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Ah Ming's request that he be allowed back to work was previously dismissed by the Guangzhou labor dispute arbitration committee in June.

The arbitration committee stated in its ruling that it believes infectious disease prevention and treatment regulations stipulating that HIV-positive individuals should be quarantined until they are proven to no longer be infectious are still in effect, so the employer's decision is appropriate.

Ah Ming had worked for the institution for three years as a contract worker and was applying for a permanent job there, which requires a physical examination, in October 2015 when he was found to be HIV-positive.

However, there is no history of treating HIV-positive individuals in quarantine, according to official replies from the national, provincial and city health and family planning commissions, which have been presented to the court, Qiu Hengyu, Ah Ming's attorney, told the Global Times.

Qiu explained that "China's Law on the Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases already excludes HIV carriers from the list of people who need to be quarantined, and the law should overrule the [infectious disease prevention and treatment] regulation."

Ah Ming revealed that his job responsibility involved examining food safety with tools made of glass and he was not allowed to directly touch the food with bare hands, so he should not be fired only for being HIV-positive.

Among the six contagious diseases - including cholera and active tuberculosis - that will restrict patients from engaging in producing food, AIDS has been excluded, said Qiu, citing a notice issued by the National Health and Family Planning Commission on July 1.

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