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Landmark Victory! Kenyan Court Says No Firing For HIV Status

An HIV positive Kenyan woman made history by winning a settlement against her employer for unfair dismissal, a decision that should bring relief to 2.5 million (out of 35 million) Kenyans living with HIV or AIDS. The Court ruled that one cannot be fired for being HIV positive.

A doctor administered an HIV test when the woman went to the hospital complaining of chest pains. The doctor passed on the positive results to her employer, despite the fact that the patient had not consented to the test nor disclosure. The woman said that her co-workers knew she was positive before she did.

The Kenyan High Court ruled that testing employees, or prospective employees, without consent is unlawful, along with disclosing results to employers without permission. This landmark ruling — that one cannot be terminated for HIV status —undoubtedly boosts the rights of those living with HIV. Yet, I'm not sure how some of the consent protections will practically play out. If you want a job, and an employer asks you to consent to an HIV test, would you feel comfortable denying consent?


Join The Conversation
MSucre MSucre 9 years
This is great news. But do you think the employer is happy at least a little bit that the doctor tested her for HIV? At least she found out sooner than later. Do you think that in countries where the incidence of HIV is so high, there should be mandatory testing, without disclosure, but at least the patient would know.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
"The woman said that her co-workers knew she was positive before she did." WOW. This is a great step forward.
lovelie lovelie 9 years
I would feel comfortable denying consent, however, that doesn't mean that can't turn around and not hire me. If I'm already employed there, I think that would be a different story...however, if I am applying for the job, they could easily not hire me w/o having to explain why. I wonder how Kenya's employment/labor laws far as equal hiring?
MartiniLush MartiniLush 9 years
Can an employer get information about an employee's prescriptions from the insurer? I would feel comfortable denying consent for my employer to test for HIV.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
If I have the law on my side I'd feel very comfortable telling my employer where they can stick their consent. Despite the good willed intensions of protection here in the U.S. employers have a very easy way of getting around laws prohibiting dismissing employees who are presumed to have HIV. More and more employers are having prospective employees sign a waiver as condition of hire that employment is not guaranteed and they can be terminated at will. Many also state that the employee waives the right to bring legal action against the employer for termination. Now you might ask how the employer would know if the employee is HIV+. Well if the employee has medical coverage who's paying for the expensive medication?
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
This certainly is excellent news! And I would be 100% comfortable denying consent.
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