A driver sacked by a multinational drugs firm for being HIV–positive has taken his employers to court
Sishupal Bhadoriya, a driver employed by a pharmaceuticals company in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, was dismissed from his job three years ago after he was found to be HIV–positive.
Bhadoriya, the father of three children, says he tried to get the company to take him back but they refused. He has therefore decided to fight the matter out in court.
“For three months I ran from pillar to post asking the company to reinstate me, even give me a job away from others. They did not even bother to talk to me, the top brass has been unreachable. I hope to get justice now, maybe from god,” says Bhadoriya.
A spokesperson at the company, which, ironically, manufactures AIDS drugs, claims that Bhadoriya resigned from the job. “Bhadoriya was unwell for three months after being diagnosed HIV–positive. There was a wound on his hand that was not healing. He went on long leave and later resigned.”
Bhadoriya’s lawyer says there are precedents in which courts have ruled against employers for dismissing HIV–positive employees, these will be cited in this case.
In the absence of a comprehensive law on HIV/AIDS (the Bill has been pending for several years), cases of discrimination continue to take place. Recently, KEM Hospital in Mumbai was alleged to have turned away an HIV–positive patient, Narendra Utam Dhobi, a fisherman. Utam alleged that staff at the hospital refused to treat him. He was admitted only after his story was reported in the media.
Earlier, a nurse at the Nargis Dutt Cancer Hospital in Barshi, in Maharashtra, was dismissed from service after she tested positive for the HIV virus.
Kalpana Bokapode contracted the virus from her husband who died of AIDS recently. When she too tested positive for the virus the hospital management dismissed her and “told me not to show my face to them”.
The chairman of the privately funded hospital, Dr B M Nene, was quoted as saying that Bokapode was relieved of her duties “as a precautionary measure, to prevent the transmission of the disease”.
Bokapode has asked other HIV–positive working people to join her in fighting this injustice. “If I win my case it will be a trendsetter for other HIV–positive working people,” she said.
While the National AIDS Control and Prevention Policy supports an approach that ensures the protection of rights as a key element in successfully dealing with HIV/AIDS, it does not have the sanction of law and its directives are unenforceable, according to the HIV/AIDS Unit of Lawyers’ Collective.
Source: www.ndtv.com, May 3, 2008
Hindustan Times, May 3, 2008
DNA, May 3, 2008