Can your employer fire you for having hepatitas C?

UPDATED: Mar 24, 2012

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Mar 24, 2012Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can your employer fire you for having hepatitas C?

Asked on March 24, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

It is probably the case that the employer can do this. As a general matter, in the absence of an employment contract, you may be fired for any reason, at any time (you are what's called an "employee at will"). The only reasons that you could not be fired would be those few reasons which are specifically made illegal--like, for example, racial discrimination.

The only category of protection which *might* protect someone with hep C is that it is illegal to discriminate against the disabled in employment. However, not all medical conditions are considered a disability for this purpose--in fact, most are not. To be a disability, there must be a pervasive impact on the ability to do normal life or work functions. It could be the case that a specific person's hep C condition rises to the level of disability, but most would not.

Moreover, even if, in a given case, having hep C were considered a disability, the law only requires "reasonable accomodations," which are accomodations which are not too expensive or disruptive, or which do not expose customers, coworkers, or the employer to potential liability or injury. There are many occupations--anyone in food service or in many hospitality conditions; nursury school teachers; home heath aids; etc.--where it would be potentially risky to have someone with hep C, so in those cases, even if the person in question were considered to have a legally cognizable disability, the employer could terminate him or her.

So, while for a definitive answer, it would be important to consult in detail with an employment law attorney, since the facts of the specific case are critical, as a general matter, an employer would seem to be able to terminate someone for having hapatitas C.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption