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HIV-positive man awarded damages for unfair dismissal

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Innsbruck regional court. Photo: Haun
13:25 CET+01:00
In a potentially landmark case Innsbruck’s regional court has ordered that the state of Tyrol pay a gay man €35,000 in damages after it ruled that he was dismissed from a new job during a trial period because he is HIV-positive and homosexual.

The gay rights group RKL represented the man in court, arguing that he was unfairly dismissed.

Under Tyrol’s Equal Treatment Act the man now stands to be awarded a lump sum in compensation and Tyrol state will also have to pay out a sum equal to what he could have earned and accrued in pension benefits had he not been sacked, RKL president and lawyer Helmut Graupner said.

The defendant was allegedly stalked by his ex-partner and outed by his employer, the State of Tyrol, as HIV-positive and gay. He said that he had been told by his bosses that he should look for another job - and a few days later his contract was terminated.

His employers argued that his dismissal had nothing to do with his sexuality, and that they had already decided to terminate his contract before discovering he was HIV-positive.

Graupner said the court’s decision was “a pioneering and just judgement” and that it was the first time that an Austrian court had granted compensation in a case of discrimination against someone with HIV.

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The court’s decision is not final and can still be appealed.

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