India Proposes Strict Laws to Prevent HIV Bias
Legislators in India have proposed new laws preventing discrimination on the basis of one’s serostatus:
The HIV/AIDS Prevention & Control Bill says a person whose spoken or written words may lead to hostility or hatred against an HIV-positive person could go to jail for two years.
The new rules will outlaw not only incitements to violence against HIV-positive individuals, but also workplace discrimination. If it passes, employers would be outlawed from enforcing HIV testing before hiring. In 2006 it was estimated almost 6 million people were living in HIV in India, so a large population in that nation will have newer protections to prevent bias.
As of now there are less stringent laws in the US, even though there are workplace discrimination regulations. Last month, the US Equal Opportunity Commission revised the Americans with Disabilities Act:
“Based on the hard work we did at the Commission over the past months, I am confident that these regulations will work well for both people with disabilities and employers,” said Commissioner Chai Feldblum, who joined the EEOC in April, 2010. “It was our job as an agency to carry out the intent of this landmark law and I believe we have done so successfully.” Feldblum was one of the lead negotiators on the original ADA as well as on the Amendments Act.
“Just as the ADAAA was the result of a considerable bipartisan effort by Congress, the final rule represents a concerted effort of EEOC Commissioners representing both parties to arrive at regulations that hold true to that bipartisan Congressional intent,” said Commissioner Constance S. Barker. “I was pleased to have been able to vote in favor of the final rule.”
The ADAAA went into effect on Jan. 1, 2009. In the ADAAA, Congress directed the EEOC to revise its regulations to conform to changes made by the Act, and expressly authorized the EEOC to do so. The EEOC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on proposed implementing regulations on September 23, 2009, and received well over 600 public comments in response. The final regulations reflect the feedback the EEOC received from a broad spectrum of stakeholders.
India’s proposed legislation also mirrors laws in the UK which outlaw hate speech that might provoke violence against a minority class. As of yet, however, HIV status has not been added to these statutes.