Costa Rica – HIV-related stigma could lead to justified dismissal

lazo otaeA draft bill presented by Costa Rican legislators last August, if approved, could lead to justified dismissal if someone is rejected due to HIV-related causes.

This draft bill provides the main legal reforms, which must be implemented, as explained by Ana Helena Chacón, and María Elena López, Vice-President and Minister of health, in order to preserve the integrity and respect the rights of more than 10,000 Costa Ricans with HIV.

In this way, if someone is rejected in their work, for any reason related to HIV. The victim can report it and the offender could lose their job automatically and without employer liability. When who discriminated against is the employer, the employee can finish their contract without any consequence, according to draft bill, which aims at adjusting the content of three articles of the labor code.

The draft bill also aim at fining those who not only discriminate against people with HIV, but also against other reasons such as ethnicity, religion, gender, physical disability, opinions or political affiliation. If passed, this would be stipulated in article 373 of the criminal code.

In addition, the offender must attend training and awareness workshops on human rights.

In Costa Rica, about 9,800 people older than 15 years have HIV, according to estimates from UNAIDS in 2013.