Three years after a woman in Pune was terminated for being HIV positive, a labour court in the city has ordered her former employer to reinstate her and clear all back wages.
Presiding officer of the labour court, Kalpana Phatangare, asked the pharmaceutical firm to reinstate the woman and award “full back wages and continuity of service and consequential benefits”.
The woman had approached the court through her lawyer Vishal Jadhav after she was forced to resign.
While passing the order, Phatangare said, “In such circumstances the only inference that can be drawn is that she was made to tender her resignation forcibly. In short, it can be said that it was not a resignation, but it was termination on the part of the company.”
According to victim’s submission to the court, she was forced to resign in 2015 after submitting medical documents to seek benefits of mediclaim following her diagnosis. She said that the HR officials pressurised and coerced her to resign after coming to know that she was HIV positive.
The woman told the firm she was mentally and physically fit and taking all precautions while working, but she was forced to succumb by HR department and was made to write a resignation letter as per their dictation.
The woman told the court that since she was a widow, she needed the job.
Her counsel told the court that the reason for the termination given on the document by the firm is ‘absenteeism’, although she was forced to resign because she was HIV positive.
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Officer Phatangare, while delivering the judgment, said “On the ground of discrimination, as the second party was HIV positive, the company is dealing with medicines and providing the same all over the world while in circumstances it is not good on its part to take such a decision and victimise the woman in such a way.”
The company, however, claimed in the court that she had resigned on her own and availed all the benefits such as gratuity, bonus and leave encashment while leaving.