Woman fired for being HIV+ gets back job after 3 yrs

Three years after a city-based woman was terminated for being HIV positive, a labour court in Pune has ordered her former employer to reinstate her and clear all back wages.

The order was passed in October in which Kalpana Phatangare, presiding officer of the labour court, asked the pharmaceutical firm to reinstate the woman and award "full back wages and continuity of service and consequential benefits".

The woman had approached the court through her lawyer Vishal Jadhav.

According to her submission to the court, she was forced to resign in 2015 after submitting medical documents to seek benefits of mediclaim following her diagnosis.

She said that the HR officials pressurised and coerced her to resign after coming to know that she was HIV positive, despite her telling them that she was mentally and physically fit and taking all precautions while working.

The woman further said she succumbed to the pressure of the HR department and was made to write a resignation letter as per their dictation.

The woman told the court that since she was a widow, she needed the job.

"She is in need of the job and requirement of the community support, economic support and non-discrimination, but the company discriminated against her as she was a HIV positive person," her application read.

According to the woman, her husband was diagnosed with HIV in 2004 and died two years later. After going for a medical checkup, she too was diagnosed with it.

In spite of the shocking revelation, she decided to live with self esteem, confidence and dignity, and was taking proper medical and counselling from government and NGOs, the woman said.

(with news agency inputs)