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Orange County Group Launches Poster Drive on AIDS Job Bias

November 03, 1987|LYNN SMITH | Times Staff Writer

In what was described as the first effort of its kind, a coalition of Orange County business, government and labor representatives has begun mailing posters to local businesses explaining that state law protects people affected by AIDS against job discrimination.

"Posting this information can prevent discrimination before it occurs" and will help clarify employers' responsibilities and employees' rights, Daniel H. Ninburg, chairman of the Orange County Human Relations Commission, one of the sponsors, said at a press conference Monday.

Other sponsors include Pacific Bell; the Orange County Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO; the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, and ACTION, a coalition of county agencies serving AIDS patients and the public.

The 11-by-16-inch black and orange poster printed by the coalition explains employers' responsibilities and employees' rights as determined last February by the state Fair Employment and Housing Commission. Under the rules, employers may not fire, refuse to hire or reinstate or otherwise discriminate against anyone who has AIDS, is thought to have AIDS or be at risk to contract AIDS.

AIDS discrimination complaints have received priority status for faster processing, said Myonia Gibbs, director of the Santa Ana office of the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. In 1985, AIDS patient John E. Chadbourne of Santa Barbara died before state officials could rule on his complaint that Raytheon Co. in Goleta forced him to take medical leave from his job, although he was fit to work. He had filed his complaint in 1984.

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