Justice Employed: Many roads to get to work

Helping people living with HIV to remain or enter the workforce has been a long-standing mission of the AIDS Law Project.

Among our victories in this area has been the clarification of occupational licensing regulations. More than 50 jobs in Pennsylvania prohibit the employment of workers with contagious, communicable or infectious diseases. In 2011, we worked with then Governor Ed Rendell to issue a clarification that the regulations do not apply to people living with HIV because the virus is not transmitted through casual contact or through the usual practice of the profession or occupation for which a license is required. We have used the clarification ( View PDF: Policy Statement Interpretation and Clarification ) to support the rights of people with HIV to be employed in those professions and occupations.

For 30 years, we have fought HIV-discrimination in the workplace.

Earlier this summer, we noticed with admiration when another governor supported the rights of people with disabilities. Governor Tom Wolf signed House Bill No. 1641 codifying his “Employment First” executive order. The new law ensures that Pennsylvania will be hospitable to workers with disabilities.

As people with HIV are living longer, healthier lives, we remain focused on ensuring their rights in the workplace. In 2017, we worked on 130 employment discrimination-related cases, which include wrongful termination and reasonable accommodation; 95 cases concerning employee rights; and 400 cases to help people return to work while still keeping the public benefits that enabled them to feel well enough to work.