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DECEMBER 1 is the date chosen to mark World Aids Day. The day encourages people to deal with prejudice and to create awareness about HIV .
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome affect all sectors of society, including the workplace. Southern Africa is particularly affected because of its high rate of HIV infection.
South African law protects HIV-positive people and people living with Aids in the workplace.
Employers are required to provide a supportive work environment where such employees are safeguarded against discrimination and can work for as long as they are medically fit to do so.
Section 54(1)(a) of the Employment Equity Act (EEA) protects HIV-infected people and those people living with HIV-Aids. This section provides that no person may be unfairly discriminated against on the basis of their HIV status.
Section 6(1) of the act provides that no person may unfairly discriminate against an employee in any employment policy or practice, on the basis of their HIV status.
In addition, no employee can be forced to take an HIV test, unless the labour court has declared that such testing is justifiable.
Section 187(1)(f) of the Labour Relations Act protects the employment of employees living with the illness. It provides that employees with HIV-Aids may not be dismissed because of their status.
Section 14 of the Constitution guarantees everyone the right to privacy. This includes people infected with HIV-Aids.
The Constitution requires employers to promote a non-discriminatory environment that accords with an open, free and transparent society.
Employers are required to adopt measures to ensure that employees with HIV-Aids are not unfairly discriminated against and are protected against victimisation.
Employers, in consultation with trade unions, must facilitate HIV-Aids education, training and awareness, promote de-stigmatisation and support structures for employees.
- Modise is deputy chairperson at Eversheds and Mahomed a candidate attorney