County Aids Policy Revised Under Federal Provisions

Workers Protected If No Health Hazard To Others Exists

December 15, 1991|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff writer

Carroll educators, complying with a new federal law, have proposed revisions to the district's policy regarding workers with AIDS.

Theproposal, which revises a 1988 policy, will bring the district in compliance with the newly enacted Americans With Disabilities Act, which governs treatment of employees with AIDS.

"We don't have a problem," Superintendent R. Edward Shilling toldschool board members Wednesday. "We don't have a crisis."

A report outlining the change in administrative guidelines was given to the board last week. The board will review the report again next month, allowing time for school worker associations to review the changes, Shilling said.

"I really would like to make sure the board is comfortable with this," the superintendent said.

William R. Rooney, Carroll's director of personnel, said under the revised guidelines, workers with AIDS will be allowed to remain on the job as long as they pose no health threat to others and can perform their job duties.

He said the school district, in complying with the new federal law, willbe required to make "reasonable accommodations" to help any workers with AIDS fulfill their job obligations.

The district has about 2,200 employees, including administrators and supervisors, teachers, secretaries and food service and custodial workers. Rooney said school officials are not aware of any employees with the disease.

"We aresimply updating our administrative guidelines," he said.

The revised guidelines will be included in personnel procedures handbooks andposted at all school facilities, he said.

Rochelle S. Eisenberg, the district's attorney, said the law, which takes effect July 1, will require employers to treat workers with AIDS the same way they treat any other employee with a disability.

"Clearly, an employee withAIDS has the right to teach or (perform) whatever the job is," she said.

During a brief discussion on the issue, board Vice President Cheryl A. McFalls asked Eisenberg who decides what are reasonable accommodations.

Eisenberg said the federal law does not specifically define reasonable accommodations. She said providing an employee who has AIDS with part-time work or an aide for his or her job might be considered reasonable.

Individual hardships, she said, may have to be taken on a case-by-case basis.

"It could make for a lot of litigation," she said. "You're trying to prevent litigation by preparing (a policy)."

Westminster officials also are looking at employee handbooks and procedures to make sure the city complies with the law, said Tom Beyard, director of planning and the city's coordinator for the law.

"One of the things we will be doing is a study of personnel needs and what changes we have to make," Beyard said. "There are certain things we have to do by certain time frames. It's not with AIDSbut other issues relating to the disabled."

The city has about 115 employees, he said. Like school officials, he said he knew of no employees with the disease.

Other county municipalities, county government and private employers also will have to comply with the new federal law.

Sue Ealing, the county's personnel analyst, said she doesn't know where the county stands in developing a policy.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.