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No AIDS Bias, Firms Claim in Gay Survey

May 22, 1987|From United Press International

A majority of 164 of America's largest corporations claim that they do not discriminate against employees with AIDS, but few of those companies actually spell out their position to workers, a gay rights group said Thursday.

"Fully two-thirds of more than 100 major corporations, from all regions of the country, have indicated that they prohibit employment discrimination against people with AIDS," said Carly Athanasiades, a spokeswoman for National Gay Rights Activists.

The results of the survey were announced at West Hollywood City Hall. The gay rights group surveyed 995 of the Fortune 1,000 companies. Only 164 questionnaires were returned.

The organization attributed the slack response to a "reluctance on the part of these companies" to comment on sensitive social issues.

Of the responding companies, 110 indicated that they had a policy "which forbids employment discrimination" against victims of AIDS and related illnesses, the report said.

All but one of the firms also said they do not require employees or applicants to take an AIDS test as a condition of employment. The one exception, Abbott Laboratories of Abbott Park, Ill., said it tests its workers who work directly with the AIDS virus.

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