Advice for the Lawlorn: None of Your Boss's Business

, New York Law Journal

Dear Readers:

I have received several emails recently asking about disclosing the status of an illness. I have decided to re-run (with a few additions and/or corrections) a column this week from 2002 in which a reader discussed the ramifications of revealing his/her HIV status. Substitute HIV for cancer, epilepsy, or whatever disease you see fit.

Ann M. Israel

New York, NY

Question: I have worked as a contract attorney doing document review in New York City for approximately six years. I have worked with many of New York's best firms and have often received promotions and worked as a team lead, done quality control work and privilege reviews.

This summer I worked on an antitrust project for an agency I had not previously worked for. This agency is getting a lot of work since it started here. I am HIV positive and while on the project became ill and needed an accommodation for a reduced work schedule. I explained the situation to the project manager. The agency seemed more than happy to accommodate me and allowed me to work a reduced schedule for the remainder of the project.

Two days after the project ended they demanded my building pass and locker key. I never received any negative work reviews and only received praise. The agency now will not respond to my inquiries about new projects even though they continue to advertise for new projects and I know people who work there and they are still hiring new people because they are so busy. How do I deal with this situation without becoming blacklisted everywhere? I would like to resolve this without EEOC complaint.

Have an employment question? Ask Ann.