Ignorance, fear and prejudice over HIV are still common in the workplace, according to the National Aids Trust, affecting the recruitment process and leaving firms vulnerable to anti-discrimination laws.
While most employers do not want to discriminate against HIV-positive candidates, the trust says they may not know the best ways to address concerns about recruiting people with the illness and are misinformed about candidates needing excessive amounts of time off work or having to put extra health and safety measures in place.
NAT has launched a guide giving information on how to make the employment process fair and advice on how to ask questions about disability, sick leave, gaps in employment and medical history in application forms and interviews. It also addresses employers’ legal obligations if an applicant discloses their HIV status, including data protection issues.
Many firms are still unaware that anti-discrimination legislation now covers people with HIV from the moment they are diagnosed. The trust hopes the new guide will enable employers to “ensure job candidates are recruited because of their talent, not discouraged because of fears about HIV”.