Court allows HIV-positive man to return to work
A court in Southwest China's Sichuan Province has allowed a man to return to his job after being dismissed for being HIV-positive, with an expert calling for a friendlier social environment to people like him.
Xie Peng (not his real name) and his unnamed company reached an agreement on April 28 following a court mediation moderated by the people's court of Shizhong district, Neijiang in Sichuan, West China City Daily reported on Monday.
The agreement would allow Xie to return to his job with compensation equal to double the amount of his unpaid salary since he was fired, or 170,000 yuan ($26,620).
The court mediation came after Xie was found positive in a company-organized HIV antibody test, and fired in June 2017, the newspaper reported.
"The company has no right to demand HIV antibody tests on employees, nor does it have the right to dismiss an employee for living with HIV," Yu Quan, a Sichuan-based lawyer, told the Global Times on Monday, citing the Regulations on AIDS Prevention and Treatment and Labor Contract Law.
"The company probably fired Xie because they feared Xie might infect other employees," Guo Haiyue, a Beijing-based lawyer, told the Global Times on Monday. But working with HIV-positive people does not increase the risk of HIV, because the virus only spreads under certain circumstances.
Xie has returned to his job.
"To my surprise, my colleagues voted unanimously to work with a person living with HIV."
The court mediation was a better choice than a court judgment, for it was more amicable, Guo said.
"The social acceptance of people with HIV is still low in China. People should learn more about AIDS, or their world will shrink further," warned Guo, calling for a friendlier social environment that would help HIV-positive people live better lives.