Can you sue an employer for herpes jokes if you have herpes?

Asked on January 21, 2013 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Almost certainly not, unfortunately. It is far from clear that herpes qualifies as a "disability" for purposes of the protection afforded by anti-discrimination/harassment laws. A disability impacts regular, day-to-day life functions and cannot be effectively moderated or controlled; it is very likely that herpes does not meet that criteria. (Most medical conditions and  illnesses are disabilities for this purpose.) If it is not a disability, there is no legal protection from someone harassing you over it.

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