Major breakthrough as HIV/AIDS case is put before European Court of Human Rights
20 September 2012
The first ever case relating to HIV/AIDS discrimination in the workplace was declared admissible and is to be heard before the European Court of Human Rights following work by Dr George Letsas and Dr Virginia Mantouvalou, Co-Directors of the UCL Institute for Human Rights.
The case concerns applicant I.B. – a HIV-positive individual, who was dismissed from his job when colleagues found out that he had HIV, and refused to work with him.
I.B. challenged the dismissal as unlawful. However, the Greek Court of Cassation upheld the dismissal on the ground that the employer was not motivated by hostility towards his HIV status, but by the desire to ensure the peaceful running of her business.
Speaking about the case, on which the court is expected to rule in 2013, the Co-Directors said:
"We are very pleased that the Court has declared the case admissible, not least because some 90% of the applications submitted are declared inadmissible. Our claim is that the applicant suffered discrimination on the basis of his HIV-status. This remains the case even though his employer did not have discriminatory motives, and only cared about business efficiency. There is widespread discrimination and social exclusion in Europe towards persons with HIV/AIDS. States have positive obligations to take action."