National / Crime & Legal

Hokkaido man with HIV awarded damages after being denied hospital job over condition

Kyodo

The Sapporo District Court court on Tuesday ordered a hospital operator in Sapporo to pay a man ¥1.65 million in damages after it refused to employ him last year for failing to report being HIV-positive.

The court ruled that the Hokkaido man, in his 30s, did not need to report being HIV-positive and that the decision by the Sapporo-based Hokkaido Shakaijigyo Kyokai (Hokkaido Social Welfare Association) was illegal.

“The risk of infection (to others) is marginal to the point it can be ignored, and there was no need for the man to report his infection,” presiding Judge Takaaki Muto said in handing down the ruling.

According to the lawsuit, the man did not reveal being HIV-positive when applying for a hospital job in December 2017. He was then due to be employed as a social worker at a medical institution run by the association from February 2018. But the hospital withdrew the job offer in January last year upon learning he is HIV-positive from medical records.

After the hospital accused him of making a false statement, the man submitted a diagnosis saying there is no risk of him infecting others in the workplace, but he was still denied the job.

Muto said the institution “was liable for fanning discrimination and prejudice against those infected with HIV.”

The man had sought ¥3.3 million in damages, claiming there was no need to report being HIV-positive and that it was illegal to withdraw a job offer when he was taking medication that had fully removed the risk of infecting others.

National guidelines ban discriminatory treatment at work based on being HIV-positive.