Termination of the employment of HIV-infected employee violates human rights

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decided on October 3, 2013 that a termination of  an employment relationship with an employee because of his HIV-infection constitutes a violation of human rights (docket number: 552/10). The plaintiff was working at a jewelry manufacturer in Greece. His co-workers requested his dismissal as they were afraid to get infected and steadily increased the pressure on the employer. He finally gave in and terminated the employment with the HIV-infected worker who received a severance payment. Shortly after the dismissal, he found a new employment. Nonetheless, he sued the employer for compensation as he considered the dismissal unjustified. The Greek court dismissed the claim, arguing that an HIV-infection could seriously disrupt the industrial peace. In order to avoid that, a dismissal is justified. However, the ECHR did not share this point of view. The ECHR argued, that the dismissal constitutes an intrusion in the privacy of the employee and discriminates him. Pursuant to Articles 8 and 14 of the European Convention of Human Rights the plaintiff was awarded compensation of € 6,339 and additionally damages of € 8,000.