HIV-Positive Men Can Sue American Airlines over Rescinded Job Offers

Three men who said job offers were rescinded because they did not disclose they had HIV can sue American Airlines alleging discrimination, a federal appeals court has ruled


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Three men who said job offers were rescinded because they did not disclose they had HIV can sue American Airlines alleging discrimination, a federal appeals court has ruled.

The airline can request medical information, but only after it has completed background checks and made a job offer, according to Friday's ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

This allows applicants to decide whether to disclose personal information and makes it possible to determine if an application was rejected illegally, the court said.

The three Bay Area men said American offered them jobs as flight attendants in 1998 and 1999 on the condition that they pass medical exams and background checks.

They were asked about their medical histories and none mentioned having the virus. They disclosed their conditions after blood tests showed they were using HIV medication, then received letters withdrawing their offers of jobs because of the concealment.

''It's a huge victory for people with hidden disabilities,'' Todd Schneider, a lawyer for the applicants, told the Oakland Tribune.

Calls seeking comment from American Airlines representatives were not immediately returned Sunday.

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