Policy on HIV/AIDS and employment

Preamble

Oxford Brookes University is committed to equality of opportunity in its employment practices. It is also committed to protecting and promoting the health of its employees.

People with AIDS or the virus that leads to the disease, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), have to contend not only with the medical aspects of the condition but also with discrimination. This policy aims to:

  • Ensure that people with HIV/AIDS do not experience unfair discrimination in employment.
  • Support people with HIV/AIDS and challenge incorrect assumptions about HIV/AIDS infection.
  • Protect and promote the health and safety of employees.

The University will work closely with the District Health Authorities and non-statutory organisations on HIV/AIDS.

Employment

Medical fitness for appointment and continuation of employment will be determined for HIV/AIDS as for other medical conditions, through the usual procedures by the Universities Occupational Health Department. The usual rules concerning sickness will be operated.

No employee or applicant will be required by the University to take a test for HIV antibody, or to disclose the results of any such test he/she may have taken.

If it becomes known that an employee has HIV/AIDS the University will provide adequate support and reasonable arrangements to enable him /her to continue his/her usual employment where this remains feasible and presents no risk to others, unless he/she is deemed not medically fit through usual procedures. The University acknowledges that to continue working may enable such an employee to maintain confidence and social contact, and therefore fight HIV/AIDS with more dignity.

Employees with HIV/AIDS will only be redeployed following medical advice, or at their own request.

Disability Discrimination

Legislation protects people living with HIV from the moment of diagnosis. An employer cannot discriminate against an HIV-positive employee (covered by the definition of disability):

  • In the recruitment process;
  • In the terms and conditions of employment;
  • In the opportunities offered for training, promotion, transfer or any other   benefits of employment;
  • By dismissing them unfairly;
  • By treating them less favourably than other employees;
  • By subjecting them to harassment or subjecting them to any other detriment.

HIV-positive job applicants have no legal obligations to disclose their status, an applicant or employee who has HIV but it will not affect their ability to carry out the role they are applying for or hold and should not feel obligated to disclose it. 

Applicants or employee who do not want to disclose their HIV status but who need some adjustments need to inform the University about any particular needs.

People living with HIV can work in healthcare if their job does not involve exposure prone procedures (procedures characterised by the potential for direct contact between the healthcare worker’s skin and sharp surgical instruments, needles or sharp tissues in body cavities).

Employees who’s job involves exposure prone procedures and who find out that they have an HIV-positive status during the course of their employment, should seek advice from an the Occupational Health Department and cease to perform these procedures immediately.

Where this is the case Oxford Brookes University  will seek to arrange suitable alternative work or training, or where appropriate, early retirement.
Employees needing reasonable adjustments to perform their job should tell their Line Manager or the Occupational Health Department so that necessary steps can be taken to enable the member of staff to continue working.

Oxford Brookes University will treat this information in confidence. An employer is not legally entitled to disclose that an employee is HIV-positive without the employee’s consent. The only exception to the confidentiality rule is that it was in the public interest for others to know, but even then, disclosure should only be to those who have a real need to know the information.

Health and Safety

AIDS/HIV cannot be transmitted by normal social contact. Normal, good hygiene practices for dealing with spilt blood or body fluids will protect people from a number of diseases, including AIDS. Bleach and disposable vinyl/rubber gloves will be made available in all departments to clear up any blood or other body fluids after illness/accidents.

Education, training and Information

The University will provide appropriate training and guidance on HIV/AIDS, particularly to help overcome uninformed prejudices and follow good hygiene practices at work.

The University will make use of appropriate local resources and advice in providing training and information (e.g. the Health Authority, the Health Education Unit, and the AIDS Liaison Officer of the Oxford City Council).

Support for people with HIV/AIDS

Any employee who is told by another employee that they have concern about their own HIV status or reveals their HIV status to him/her must treat that information in strict confidence.

Any employee who has any anxiety about AIDS/HIV may seek confidential advice from inside the University from any of the following:

  • The Directorate of Human Resources.
  • The University Occupational Health Department.
  • Student Services Centre (Student counsellors will see employees as well as students).

In addition, external advice may be sought from the Harrison Department of Genito-Urinary Medicine at the Churchill Hospital Radcliffe Infirmary (tel. 01865 741166) or from Terrance Higgins Trust (tel. 01865 243 389). Neither of these agencies will disclose information to the University without the informed consent of the individual.

 

Updated Nov 2010