A 26-YEAR-OLD was sacked four hours after telling his employers that he was HIV positive. “This is the second time this has happened and it won’t come cheap,” warned Francisco M. On March 25 Madrid resident Francisco was signed off sick with bronchitis but did not respond to treatment.
“On April 5 my boss rang to see how I was. He was on sick leave too, and I said that I wondered if it was because I was seropositive.”
He was well but was inclined to pick up infections, Francisco explained to his superior, who was apparently sympathetic.
The following day at around 11pm Francisco sent his employers an email confirming his suspicions that condition was making the bronchitis harder to shake off.
“They opened the email at 9.55am on April 7. Four hours later, at 2pm a registered fax came, firing me,” Francisco said.
The mortgage company, Sertyf, for whom Francisco worked, claimed that his performance was unsatisfactory although he insisted this was not true.
“I started work on January 17. After a month’s trial they made me permanent, and even congratulated me.”
Financial damage was the least of what he had suffered, Francisco said. “It was particularly hurtful because the company made you sign a code of ethics saying you could not discriminate against colleagues because of their personal circumstances. And look how they treat you.”
Francisco learnt in 2007 that he was HIV positive and needs a medical check-up every three months. His health was good, he said, and he still does not need medication although he takes anti-depressants since the sacking.
He was dismissed in similar circumstances in the past but as family members also worked there, he did not pursue the matter.
Francisco’s case comes before an employment tribunal in September and on the recommendation of Madrid’s Information and Treatment Programme for homosexuals and transsexuals, is asking for €324,000 and €300,000 for “extraordinary moral harm”