31 July 2008
HIV sufferer claims disability discrimination at work
A worker with HIV is taking legal action against his employers, accusing them of disability discrimination.
Michael Ashton worked as a fire service control room operator for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service for five years prior to being diagnosed with HIV, which attacks the body's immune system.
A recent employment tribunal was told that, after informing his bosses of his condition, he took several periods of sick leave over a five-month period.
In January 2007, his watch manager Philippa Palmer allegedly warned him that he could be in line for disciplinary proceedings as a result of his absences.
Mr Ashton stated: "She said that even though my sickness was covered under the Disability Discrimination Act, I could still be found incapable of doing my job and sacked," the BBC reports.
The worker then took time off with work-related stress and asked for a copy of his employer's HIV policy, but was informed there was no such policy in place, although one was being drawn up.
Mr Ashton later made a request for disability leave, which was not granted, before submitting his resignation on the grounds of ill health.
He claims this was not accepted either and he is still employed by the brigade.