HIV, employment and the law: a socio-legal analysis of the legal framework

McTigue, P.O.M. ORCID: 0000-0002-8266-4200, 2019. HIV, employment and the law: a socio-legal analysis of the legal framework. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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This thesis is an attempt to make a sustained and critical contribution to a particular area of legal scholarship in the field of HIV and AIDS, namely the protection of People Living with HIV or with AIDS ('PLHA') from discrimination within employment.

Whilst there has been significant research into HIV and AIDS, little research has been conducted into the issue of PLHA within an employment relationship. It is however apparent that research into the area of PLHA within an employment relationship is urgently required. As treatments and therapies for the virus develop and improve, life expectancy is enhanced and HIV has started to be perceived by some as a long term chronic condition rather than an acute life threatening illness. Yet PLHA are still subject to significant amounts of stigma and discrimination due to common misconceptions about the nature of the virus. To combat this, the United Kingdom seeks to protect PLHA from discrimination by deeming them to be 'disabled' for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010 (EA 2010).

With these issues in mind, this thesis seeks to identify whether the current framework employed by the EA 2010, and the Act’s designation of HIV as a disability, represents an adequate response to the common societal issues faced by PLHA and is consistent with international and European legal obligations. To do this, two distinct methodologies are employed. Firstly, a doctrinal, literature based approach and secondly, empirical research consisting of 20 semi-structured face-to-face interviews with PLHA. The findings of the empirical research were used to critique the law from an external, non-doctrinal perspective and develop proposals for amendments to UK law which accorded with the wishes of PLHA whilst ensuring compliance with the UK's international and European legal obligations.

The thesis finds that when considered from a purely normative perspective, the designation of HIV as a disability by the EA 2010 appears to go beyond the UK’s obligations in respect of its international and European legal obligations. Despite this, the empirical research indicates that the manner in which PLHA receive protection from discrimination under the EA 2010 requires reworking in order to reflect more accurately the issues faced by PLHA.

Consequently, the thesis argues that the automatic disability designation afforded to PLHA by paragraph 6 to Schedule 1 of the Equality Act 2010 ought to be removed and that PLHA can be adequately protected from discrimination by an amended definition of disability in the EA 2010 which accurately incorporates the social model of disability into domestic law.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: McTigue, P.O.M.
Date: May 2019
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the owner(s) of the Intellectual Property Rights.
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Law School
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 04 Nov 2019 12:05
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2019 12:06

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