Alabama AIDS and Disease: What you need to know

Alabama does not have a comprehensive law addressing the rights of private employees with disabilities. However, the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) covers all state and local government employers and private employers with 15 or more employees. The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability and requires employers to offer reasonable accommodations to applicants and employees with disabilities.
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Some states have comprehensive laws that prohibit employment discrimination against individuals with AIDS or regulate AIDS testing by employers, but Alabama does not. However, Alabama employers that are covered by the ADA are prohibited from discriminating against applicants or employees on the basis of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/AIDS status.
Risks to health and safety exception. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that an employer may refuse to employ an individual whose disability poses a direct threat to the health and safety of the individual or others in the workplace (Chevron USA Inc. v. Echazabal, 122 S.Ct. 2045 (2002)). In this case, Echazabal had hepatitis C and was denied employment at a Chevron oil refinery because the toxic chemicals in the environment were perceived by Chevron to be fatal to Echazabal's health. A direct threat means a significant risk of substantial harm and must be based on:
• A reasonable medical judgment that relies on the most current medical knowledge and the best available objective evidence; for example, studies have shown that people with hepatitis C are more likely to suffer severe liver damage in the employer's environment; and
• An individualized assessment of the individual's ...

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