Carla Lombard is a charismatic owner of Better Bagels, a successful seven-year-old bagel chain. Recently Frances, the ex-wife of Tom Walters-an outstanding employee at Better Bagels, came to Carla and told her that Tom had AIDS, then left. Carla felt that she would not be justified to discuss Tom's health with him. However, worried by the possibility that Tom's illness might affect the solvency of her business by bringing adverse publicity if news of his illness spread, she has been contemplating firing him; a swift turnaround from her previous plans of promoting him to manager. The case concludes asking if Carla should begin planning for any repercussions if Tom's health begins to decline.
When it comes to not having a written AIDS policy for the business, Carla is not alone. In 1988, only a mere 10% of all companies had such a policy. (Brown & Turner 1989, 39).
In 1987, many U.S. businesses met to discuss predicaments similar to Carla's at a summit titled, "AIDS: Corporate America Responds"; the participants reached a consensus that they should treat AIDS with the same respect and procedures as they would any other disastrous illness, that they abstain from testing employees for the virus, and refuse to transfer co-workers whom refuse to work alongside AIDS infected workers (Brown & Turner 1989, 40). The summit did say that more education about the virus was required. The summit's conclusions were wise, since three years later the passage of the 1990 American with Disabilities Act (ADA) made it illegal to ask current employees if they have HIV or AIDS, to test them for the virus; or to withdraw a job offer from an employee due to infection (hivpositive.com). Yet discrimination can be justified if the consequences of not...