Teacher dismissed on grounds of HIV status wins #163;35k payout

7th May 2010 at 01:00

A teacher who is HIV-positive has won compensation of #163;35,000 after being unfairly forced out of her job at an independent school.

The school, in the east of England, dismissed the teacher after claiming that she had failed to complete her six-month probationary period to a satisfactory standard. But it had suspended her from her job after just three months on the grounds of her HIV status.

The school claimed that the teacher's condition was a "danger to pupils and colleagues", according to details released by teaching union the NUT, which represented the staff member. The school also informed an agency of her HIV status, which breached rules on confidentiality, the NUT said.

Neither the school nor the teacher can be named because of an agreement signed at the time of the payout. As well as compensation, the teacher received a letter of apology and a reference.

A spokeswoman for the Terrence Higgins Trust, the HIV and sexual health charity, said that more still needed to be done to challenge the stigma associated with HIV.

"Sadly, prejudice and ignorance related to HIV are still a big problem for many people living with the condition, particularly in relation to the workplace," she said.

"Leading ordinary lives can be made really difficult if there is stigma in the workplace, in the health system, or in their private lives.

"The virus can't be passed on by day-to-day contact, so there's no reason why people living with HIV shouldn't be able to undertake normal duties at work."

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