Mississippi AIDS and Disease laws & HR compliance analysis

Mississippi AIDS and Disease: What you need to know

Public employers. Mississippi law prohibits discrimination in public employment against otherwise qualified applicants or employees based on disability (MS Code Sec. 25-9-103et seq.).
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Private employers. Mississippi does not have a state law addressing issues of disability discrimination by private employers. However, most employers with 15 or more employees are covered by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination based on disability in hiring, promotion, compensation, or other terms and conditions of employment. The ADA requires employers to offer a qualified individual with a disability reasonable accommodation to allow the individual to perform essential job functions.
The ADA has been interpreted to cover individuals with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), as well as those who have tested positive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, regardless of whether they suffer from any AIDS-related symptoms. Other diseases that have specifically been found to be covered disabilities under the ADA include tuberculosis and chronic asthma.
The United States Supreme Court has ruled that EEOC regulations permit an employer to require that an individual not pose a direct threat to the health and safety of the individual or others in the workplace (29 CFR 1630.2(r), Chevron USA Inc. v. Echazabal, 122 S.Ct. 2045 (2002)). 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 detrimental to Echazabal's health. A direct threat means a significant risk of substantial harm and must be based on:
• A reasonable medical judgment ...

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