Hospital rescinding job offer over man's HIV status warrants jury trial, judge says

St. Joseph's/Candler Health System in Savannah, Ga., may have violated federal disability law by rescinding a job offer from a man with HIV, a federal judge ruled March 3, according to Bloomberg Law.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a complaint against the hospital in May 2020 on behalf of Corey McKever. After learning Mr. McKever was HIV-positive, the hospital rescinded its offer for a safety officer position and offered him a different role. 

The safety officer role entails assisting medical staff when a patient becomes violent. An infectious disease physician consulted by the hospital said there could be a risk of HIV transmission if any altercation resulted in open wounds, according to the report. 

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia determined that Mr. McKever's HIV-positive status qualifies as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The court said EEOC raised several issues that warrant a trial over the lawsuit, including whether Mr. McKever could have performed the role without posing a direct threat to patient safety and how effective his HIV medication is at keeping his viral load at undetectable levels. 

A jury must also decide if the second position offered to Mr. McKever was a lateral transfer, meaning he was not subjected to any adverse employment action. 

Editor's note: Becker's reached out to St. Joseph's/Candler Health System for comment and will update the article as more information becomes available. 

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